by Pastor Kristin and Pastor Brian
Pastor's Column Download Jan/Feb Newsletter
It’s 2020! What a year to begin to see more clearly, with the eyes of Christ—the world as it should be, as it could be! What is ours part in bringing this vision into fruition?
As Christians we live in that liminal space between what is and what will be; between the world as it is and the kin-dom of God that we proclaim and work to build. We choose to live together in beloved community and roll up our sleeves to make real the vision cast for us by that first century, rabble-rousing rabbi. As we enter this new and special year, we hope to find renewed enthusiasm for serving with purpose and engagement through Epworth that spreads greater love within and beyond the congregation. Opportunities to connect and collaborate abound as this year opens.
Beginning with the preaching of Dr. Ramona Coates on Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday, we’re kicking off six weeks of preaching, teaching, worship and fellowship that will help us claim and proclaim God’s vision. Reflecting on borders and identity through the Winter Bible Institute (February 2-23), we’ll hear from scholars—all persons of color—who will help us consider Biblical texts related to borders and boundaries. Taking place immediately following Fellowship Time on Sunday mornings, this year’s Institute is convened by Dr. Dianne Rush-Woods and Dr. Karla Suomala, and is not to be missed.
Throughout February, we’ll hear the voices of African American preachers as we celebrate Black History Month. At the same time, we’re relaunching the work of the former “Beloved Community” group as the Racial Justice Task Force. In the past, this team has helped Epworth walk through conversations on topics related to race, racism, and white privilege. Leadership in advocacy and action which goes beyond conversation is part of the essential work of this team as well. As this team is reforming, we hope you will consider not just attending events and participating in actions, but also serving on the Task Force.
On Saturday, February 22 from 10-2, we’ll hold a Ministry Retreat for leaders and members of ministries, task forces and councils, as well as anyone who is seeking a place to serve. We’ll look at all of our ministries in the context of a framework that organizes ministries in three areas:
Nurture and Education
Compassion and Justice
Inviting and Faith-Sharing
Thank you to Pat Bruce Lerrigo, Kelly Trego and Connie Adachi who are conveners of each of these areas, respectively, and helping us live into this new way of being organized for sharing the love of God. Childcare and lunch will be provided.
How easy it is to forget that the one who laid the foundations of our faith was himself a marginalized man—born into poverty, forced to cross international borders; eventually returning to a homeland to live as an ethnic minority, oppressed by empire; where his religious and political views would lead to his murder at the hands of the powerful.
How easily we forget that Jesus stands before Pilate again in every immigration court room. Christ dies on the cross again every time a black or brown man dies at the hands of police.
But always and eventually, beloved, Christ is raised from the dead, when God’s people remember who we are— returning to the Gospel, and with the power of love, (to borrow from Wesley) “shake the gates of hell and set up the Kin-dom of Heaven upon earth.”
It is our hope that these events will be the springboard for a year of faith in action, propelled by a new sense of purpose and vision. Step in and step up, dear ones. God is doing something in our midst.
— Pastor Kristin & Pastor Brian