It is clearly time for us to talk. How is your availability for this Sunday, November 13, after worship?
Let me tell you what I have in mind, although I know that to some it may seem distasteful.
The results of our recent presidential election seem to have come as a surprise, perhaps even to the President-elect. To many people I know and love, and whom you know and love, the news was unwelcome. To some it was downright frightening. To many of our children and youth, this outcome is at least confusing.
The nation has elected a man to presidential office who has behaved questionably and lauded himself for it, and who has been characterized, not without cause, as a bully and a bigot. The behavior he has exhibited stands in marked contrast to the values we as a church seek to convey to our children.
In our Sunday School and other programs, we teach them to accept and affirm all people, and to love their enemies. They are not missing the dissonance between the values we teach and the language spoken from the candidates’ rostrum.
Tracey Harris and I have received numerous communications from church members and others concerned for the spiritual and physical welfare of their children, as well as of themselves. We think it will be important to address these matters.
As challenging as it may be, we must pay attention to this moment. A gracious God, as always, will look for us to take seriously the concerns of our sisters and brothers. A truly Holy Spirit will expect us to bring healing and manifest wholeness. Christ is our example of love and justice, and calls disciples to seek the welfare of “the least of these.”
So, this Sunday, while our children are in protected places singing or playing, Tracey and I propose that we grownups meet to talk about how to make our congregation, our gatherings and holy places as thoroughly welcoming and hospitable as they can be.
This is not a congregational meeting but something more along the lines of an Adult Education session, a time for brave conversation. I invite you to join us to meet and discern what we will do, this Sunday, November 13 after worship.
Pastor Dave Denoon
P.S. Since I initially posted this, the following denominational responses have appeared:
- From the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ – a pastoral letter
- From the Missouri Mid-South Conference and Associate Conference Ministers – a gathering online and by phone, November 15 at 10:00AM
- From the Open and Affirming Coalition – a pastoral letter