Sunday afternoon we gathered in the sanctuary. And we gathered at home, or in our offices, or wherever folks were zooming in from. Pastor Phiwa got a marker and some chart paper on easels and helped us name some dreams.
-We want to be a leader in climate response
-We don’t want to be a community where children are seen but not heard
-We want to be a more diverse (not just racially) community
-We don’t want to be a community that has personal ownership of the building
And many, many more.
We didn’t rush to name these hopes, and we took some time to listen; to try to understand what our siblings in Christ are hoping for too.
I love the way these pieces of chart paper (and other artifacts from our summer of wrestling with who we are) have become- maybe not relics, but maybe icons: sacred art through which we can look and see God active in our midst.
Whether or not you joined us on Sunday, I invite you to sit with these questions, and hopefully with a couple of big pieces of paper and your favorite writing implement. What features will a thriving First Congregational Church of Bellingham have in the future? What features will we emphatically not have?
We are not at consensus on these questions, but we are beginning to unearth them, beginning to scrape away the dust of assumptions and problematic culture, and see what’s there. To look at the bones of who we are as a faith community, and ask with Ezekiel (and with Pastor Phiwa in a couple of weeks): Can these bones live?
If you are brave and/or foolish enough to write your own list of who God might calling us to be, and who God might be calling us to not be, I hope you will share it: with me, with Pastor Phiwa, with the church! For it is in dreaming and wrestling together that we have the best hope of touching God’s dream for our congregation.