For Blakemore, our next step is to keep doing what we're doing. The actions of General Conference do not change our mission, vision, values, or commitment to inclusion. We will continue to welcome all people into the life and ministry of our congregation. We will continue to provide food for those who are hungry and shelter to those who don’t have a place to lay their head. We will continue to teach our children what it means to know and follow Jesus Christ. We will continue to gather each week to worship, pray, study, and sing. We will continue to partner with organizations like Project Transformation and Raise the Roof Academy to see God’s reign come here on earth. We will continue with our capital campaign to ensure One Hundred Thirty More years of life-changing ministry. As things unfold at the larger level, our local work remains unchanged. But we will be attuned to the bigger picture and discern together how God is calling us to be in connection with others.
This Sunday, we will gather in the Sanctuary for worship at 10:30 a.m. I hope you’ll join us. While I know we have various opinions about LGBTQ+ inclusion within our congregation, we are still united in Christ’s love. On Sunday, we will hear words of hope from scripture, we will sing hymns of our faith tradition, we will reason out together what God is saying, and we will experience life in community. We will have space for lament and time for anointing and healing. We will all gather around the Communion Table together. And ultimately, we will stand in a circle and see the light of Christ in one another’s faces.
Fittingly, Lent begins a week from today. In many ways, it feels to me like it has already begun. This year, Blakemore will be walking with Jesus during Lent as we look more closely at the stories of his last week of life. I hope you’ll walk this road with me. I hope you won’t give up on the Church. I hope you’ll let the God who brings life from death continue to work in and through you. I believe with all my heart that God is doing something great – abundantly far more than we dare to dream or imagine – through the people of Blakemore. No decision by General Conference will change that.
As always, I’m happy to talk with you individually if you have questions or just need to process or vent or cry. I’m not abandoning ship, and I hope you won’t either – we’ve come too far together! The verse from Psalm 43 that I quoted above concludes,
"Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”
Despite my deep devastation, I have hope and know that God is still God and still loves us all.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. John Hill