Dear Holy Covenant Community,
Greetings from Annual Conference! As I gather with United Methodists, both clergy and lay, I’m grateful for all the ways our church connects to the country and the world. As a denomination, we advocate for immigration reform, put together health kits for Haiti, provide college scholarships and support educational institutions, dream about how to engage young adults in the work of the Gospel, worship with youth and memorialize those who have gone on to be with God. It’s amazing how much abundance is produced when we all bring our gifts together!
But just as we focus on our power as a denomination, I also find my heart and mind back at Holy Covenant and the powerful witness we, as a local church, share with one another and the world. During this PRIDE month, we are called not only to witness to God’s love for all in our community, but also in our denomination that needs to change. I offer you a prayer from Allen V. Harris, from the book Shaping Sanctuary: Proclaiming God’s Grace in an Inclusive Church. (Edited by Kelly Turney
Copyright © 2000 by Reconciling Congregation Program. Reprinted by Permission, p. 35) I hope you will join me in praying this prayer as we continue to discern how God is calling our community to proclaim abundant love:
We give you thanks for your presence in all of life and for your presence with us now as we seek to discern your will and your wisdom for this community. Remind us, Divine Spirit, that you seek to fill us with your lifegiving power. Encourage us, Eternal Wisdom, to loosen our grip on our individual assumptions so that we might hear your voice speaking through our community. Disturb us, Holy Advocate, that we might be unsettled from our complacency in order to become agents of your grace to a world in need. As we gather as your people, called forth to proclaim your Word and to transform hearts turned cold, give us a clearer sense of what we are to say and do. Lead us back to our ancestors of the faith who sought your guidance when fear, confusion, and despair seemed to rule the day.
Fill us with the spirit of Moses, Aaron and Miriam as they led the Hebrew people from slavery to freedom;
Fill us with the spirit of Queen Esther as she defied conventional wisdom to save her people from sure
Fill us with the spirit of the disciples, bereft from the departure of their friend and saviour Jesus, yet able to organize a new community founded on compassion, courage and shared resources;
Fill us with the spirit of Stephen, Lydia, Paul, Timothy, Dorcas and other early Christians who risked living a minority faith in an empire of oppression and enforced conformity.
O God, hear the prayers of this community as we seek to make a public witness on behalf of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered sisters and brothers.
Help us to honour the voices of those who have personally known exclusion, heartache, fear, uncertainty and even violence. Broaden our awareness of the movement of your Holy Spirit in our world, so that we might know once again that your ways are not always our ways. Call us to more fully respect the blessed worth of all. Amen.
See you on Sunday, and think about who you can bring with you as we continue to celebrate 20 years of PRIDE!
Grace and peace,