Greetings Beloved Church!
There are a couple of things I want to talk about this week.
First, I have received many inquiries about reopening the church. We have a team currently working on developing our plan to get back in the building in the safest way possible. If you have suggestions or ideas contact our church lay leader, Al Meeds. He will bring your ideas to the team. We are going to stay open and curious in order to stay creative. This is not going to be a fast process.Once we develop our plan, we then have to get it approved by our District Superintendent. So please be patient with us. I need you to know that my first priority is the health and safety of all the people who walk through our doors. I know it is your first priority as well.
Second, we as the church have an opportunity to be the church that Jesus envisioned as the beloved community in this time. We are called to do the hard work of dismantling our implicit biases, supporting our brothers and sisters of color, and educating ourselves about our participation in systemic racism. This is hard work. Let me say this again. This is hard work. It is going to be painful and cause discomfort when we awaken to the reality of how pervasive racism and white supremacy are in our lives and in our world. That’s how we know it is working. And there is a lot of work we have to do, collectively and individually. I have a lot of work to do. We as the church have a lot of work to do. It can be overwhelming.
The problem is when it is overwhelming, we have a tendency to just stop and shut down. Dr. Brene Brown calls it becoming “high-centered.” Have you ever seen a car get high centered- they cannot move forward or backward. That’s what I want us as a church to be aware of - I don’t want us individually or collectively be overwhelmed by the work that we have to do and just shut down. There are so many books to read, podcasts to listen to, articles and charts to look at, news reports to watch. Everywhere we turn right now, there is more and more information to help us address racism and white supremacy in our lives and in our world.
Here is my recommendation - start with one thing. One book. One article. One podcast. Listen to your brothers and sisters of color and their experiences. Listen. When you finish that, then move onto another one. And so forth. Take one step. The goal is to keep taking those steps and before we know it, we can look back and see how far we’ve come. And we have a long journey before us. It is going to take a lifetime. But this is not the time to shut down and get high centered. Instead, God is calling on us to change. In the pain and the discomfort, God is with us. God is forming us in God’s grace and mercy.
Below in the Enews (it's in the "Listening and Learning" section), I have provided a blog for you to read by my mentor and friend Rev. Dr. Raquel St. Clair Lettsome. She is very dear to me. So I entrust her story to you all. Please take a moment to read about her life and her experience. As you read her words, let God’s Holy Spirit also speak to you and open your eyes. Second, I provided a link to a map that educates people on who owned the land before we occupied it now. It also includes the language of those people and the historical treaties that were signed. These things are speaking to me right now and I share them with you. What are you learning that is speaking to you. Share it with me. I want to hear about it and how it is impacting your life. You are not alone in this holy work. I am with you. We are with you. And most importantly, God is with you.