November 24, 2019: What's A Community of Love Worth? by Jeff Wells

By Jeff Wells

I am sometimes asked why I am a Christian. My answer usually includes my desire to be part of a community that celebrates, lives, and practices love. But what does that look like? What does it mean? Two weeks ago, I worshiped at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, a beautiful and historic parish. The front of their weekly bulletin offered text that could be a response to these two questions. I share it below because I believe it applies to us at All Souls, and indeed to all of us across the Episcopal Church.

The dignity and worth of every person. An open minded, passionate commitment to truth. The importance of everyone’s own spiritual journey. God’s friends wherever we find them. Seeking Christ in every person who comes through the door. The sacredness of life’s rites of passage. The value of community. The hard work necessary to make sure that all are welcomed. Telling the truth about life’s challenges. A “user-friendly” church experience. Children, youth, and families.

Claiming to have all the answers. Elitism and exclusivism, especially in church. Bigotry for any reason. Authoritarianism. Indifference to injustice and suffering. Certitude in the face of ambiguity and superficial answers to hard questions. Boring sermons, bad music, and general cluelessness. (So, God help us, because we don’t always avoid these!)

Community, open hearts, open minds, open arms. Faith. Fortitude. Staying current, but equally staying rooted in tradition. Reason and honesty. Civic responsibility as New Yorkers, Americans and global citizens. Debate that allows for mutual respect. Music and beauty for their own sake. Joy in God’s creation. Anyone who makes an effort to get to know and follow Jesus.

Who doesn’t want to belong to a fellowship that strives to live into those words? But successful community like that doesn’t just happen magically. It requires our collective personal, spiritual, and yes, financial investment to keep it going. Please join me to sustain our own community of love here at All Souls by pledging to the annual stewardship campaign by December 1st. Thank you!

Last Published: November 21, 2019 1:56 PM
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