God gave us not a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power and love… Today I am listening to speakers on the future of the church. Today I am considering the resolutions that have come before our national gathering here at Synod– two examples are the Central Atlantic-sponsored resolution against bullying and discrimination, and the one to which I was assigned on repudiating the historic Doctrine of Discovery, still in use to appropriate American Indian land and resources.
Synod is difficult to explain, it is an experience much like a large family reunion, that feeds body, mind, soul and spirit. It reminds us that St. John’s UCC is one of many, many churches sharing the Good News in this world, welcoming every person to the Table. And it is wonderfully empowering to find sisterhood/brotherhood with the great diversity we find in our denomination!
Today I also had a brief conversation with Rev. Geoffrey Black, the UCC General Minister and President. Today he is up for re-election for another four-year term. I met Geoffrey years ago when we both served in the New York Conference– I was a newly-ordained pastor, he was Conference Minister. I invited him to be a part of St. John’s 150th Anniversary, coming up in 2017. It’s not too early to plan such a milestone for our church, and his schedule fills up fast!
Our upcoming anniversary brings me around to the speaker I just heard: St. John’s UCC will be a thriving place 4 years from now if we continue to be BOLD in spirit and in love, and if we continue to welcome all God’s people to the Table. Our extravagant welcome is unique, it is not found in every church. The freedom of thought and exuberance of faith we encourage, the gathering of every age (our babies just born to our oldest member at age 97), the mix of people from every walk of life… this is our gift– and it is a gift we are called to share with the world!
Please pray for safe travels as I return to Maryland on Thursday morning, and keep everyone in our church family in prayer as we grieve the loss of two of our beloved members, Loretta and Mary.
God be with you all,