On March 10, 2010, I visited St. George’s UMC in Philadelphia while on a tour with the Boston University School of Theology Seminary Singers. We were treated to a sampling of “Philly foods” and a tour of the Museum. Then we entered the Sanctuary, and heard truth. For those of you reading who are white, like me, and know very little about real church history, the following paragraphs appear on the St. George’s Church website, and church staff has kindly given permission to reprint:
I began the New Year with this reflection on Facebook:
I was wondering what this year might bring and as I was thinking about that I looked up and saw new buds on an orchid that was given to me last year. I thought I had killed it but I continued to water it anyway - not sure why. What I realized in that moment is that new life happens sometimes in spite of ourselves and sometimes what looks like death to the human eye is really just LIFE waiting to happen.
Though I have some angst around the history of thanksgiving, the concept of giving thanks is theologically sound and very much a value of CWACM. As we draw near to the end of the year, November and Thanksgiving is an opportunity to look at the many blessings of the year.
I began this year celebrating my mother's 100th birthday. It was a memorable occasion and a reminder of how quickly time passes. Then my granddaughter turned two. Jayla, even with the terrible two's syndrome, is a joy to her mother and to me. I am so thankful for my mother, for my daughter, for my granddaughter and for all my family.
October 11th is "Coming Out" day. As a counselor and one who sits with people to hear their stories, even as I tell my own, I believe coming out is a spiritual event that happens over and over again in our lives.
As I write this, Labor Day approaches. Though once a day to celebrate the worker, for many it is merely another holiday that leaves us more tired than restored. For many of us it marks the beginning of a season that is among the busiest of the year. While some of what lies ahead excites us and we look forward to it, some of what lies ahead is shrouded in unknowns if not dread. Because it is important we will do the best we can with it but we are not looking forward to it.
"... David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him."
For Christ is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of hostility that kept us apart. In his own flesh, Christ abolished the Law, with its commands and ordinances, in order to make the two into one new person, thus establishing peace and reconciling us all to God in one body through the cross, which put to death the enmity between us.
Christ came and "announced the Good News of peace to you who were far away, and to those who were near;" for through Christ, we all have access in one Spirit to our God.
This means that you are strangers and aliens no longer. No, you are included in God's holy people and are members of the household of God, which is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus as the capstone. In Christ the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in our God; in Christ you are being built into this temple, to become a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
My name is Dave Lafary. Three years ago I left the United Methodist Church. For more than twenty years I served as an ordained elder. I grew up in the United Methodist Church. I was confirmed as a young teen and active throughout high school and college. During high school I also began to struggle with a call on my life to ministry and my sexuality.
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of God appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." When God saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." God said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." Then God said, , "I have observed the misery of my people... I have heard their cry.... Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them... and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land... I will send you... to bring my people...out."
In a recent essay entitled, "Can't Turn Around," Dr. Scott Haldeman, Assistant Professor of Worship and my academic advisor at the Chicago Theological Seminary states, "Ritually, to 'come out' is to testify, to confess. In other words, when we 'come out': we declare who we are in order to move from invisibility to visibility; we risk rejection in the hope of forging more genuine relationships; and we act to realign our networks of intimacy as well as more public community dynamics so that they are based on more complete truths rather than denial or fear or distrustful silence."1