August 15, 2017
Let us mark this day. This day, let us acknowledge that God is faithful! A year ago, none of us were sure where we’d be today, and together, we have come so far.
This time has had its share of challenges. Yet, I commend you, dear ones, for your generosity, joy and commitment and for keeping open the heart-space to make room for the Spirit to move. God is moving. God is speaking, and let us take this moment to acknowledge that we are blessed.
As we move toward beginning a new church year, beginning September 10, I want to share with you that Rev. Steve Davis and I are moving forward with great intention to invite unity and togetherness in every facet of ministry. As the clergyperson responsible to worship and its planning, I have been discerning through prayer and reflection how to faithfully hold all of us in worship together. I believe one of the first steps is to have both worship offerings in the Sanctuary.
Plymouth leadership and laity have done a lion’s share of work to create chalices for unique, meaningful and Spirit-led worship. With the addition of the 9 am worship opportunity, the worship team worked to sustain the profound energy gathered in Hildebrand Hall during the Sanctuary renovation. The choice to utilize Hildebrand was to import into our worship some of our N-Sid-Sen joy, intergenerational and dynamic in nature, along with a sense of intimate community. I believe we have been successful in doing so.
I also am aware that space is sacred. By locking in worship in different spaces, we unintentionally fostered an “us-and-them” perception that is difficult to overcome with two sustained worship locations. Faith formation was negatively impacted by being squeezed between worship offerings. Drawing connection artistically and theologically between Hildebrand and the Sanctuary was a time-consuming challenge, to say the least.
My most sincere hope is that our Sanctuary can be the heart of the church for all her people, while using other areas of the church as the Spirit leads. I am not pouring concrete on a permanent change; nor am I making light of anyone’s preference. However, I am certain that both worship opportunities can flourish in the Sanctuary as we heal and re-tie the bonds of love. The longings of our hearts will be satisfied by God wherever
Change is hard, no matter what. Fear is real, and uncertainty is always with us. I know we form connections to the places where we meet God, and have trouble imagining it can happen in other settings. Yet, I welcome us all to look for God in this. I believe we are welcoming the kind of unity expressed in the spirit of the early church:
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:44-47)
May God in Jesus Christ be praised as we lift our hands and join with our siblings in Christ in worship, having all things in common, even in our diversity and uniqueness.
—Rev. Kelle Brown