Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

Last Sunday we got off to a great start with our new four-week series: Christ, the Church & the Multi-Ethnic Kingdom.

There were 80 people in a combined Learning Community that began a discussion on race and reconciliation. The class is meant for listening, reflecting, and examining how the Scriptures call God’s people to be ministers of reconciliation. 

As you know, we are using Drew Hart’s book, Trouble I’ve Seen (2016), to challenge us to consider the perspective and experiences of those who aren’t white. I believe God is using him and his book to help the church move forward. Remember, Drew will be joining the class on Sunday, January 29 at 9:00 a.m., and he will also speak in worship at 10:30 a.m.

If you weren’t able to make it this past Sunday, Woody Dalton (Senior Pastor at Harrisburg BIC) spoke to us in worship about being “racialized” as opposed to being a racist. You can now listen to How Did We Get Here? (1 of 4) at our website. 

Woody told us that we’re not all racists, but we’ve all certainly been racialized. He said that our history and the systems in which we live have conditioned us in subconscious ways. Most of us aren’t even aware of it. Troubling, huh? 

So, Woody said that we need to dismantle the lies we have believed about those who are not like us. And we shouldn’t start with what angers us, but with where we are afraid. What stereotypes and fears do you feel toward different social or ethnic groups? We need to be honest about these things with each other. It’s easy to say one thing and actually feel another.

Furthermore, Woody said that we need real relationships with our neighbors who are not like us. He said that befriending “the other” and the foreigner is the antibiotic to our shared illness. He challenged us to think about who our neighbors are, particularly within a 10-mile radius of Grantham Church. 

I thought these were helpful ways for us to respond together. Personally, it was refreshing to hear a message on the topic that was challenging but didn’t involve shaming and finger-pointing. Woody said some tough things, but he also gave us some practical suggestions that can benefit the church. 

What then is God saying to us? What will come of our listening and responding to His voice in this series? I’m looking forward to working that out with you.

Hank Johnson (Associate Pastor at HBIC) will be with us this coming Sunday to build on what Woody shared with us. I heard Hank speak at General Conference last July during our main assembly. I’m confident that you will find his words challenging and inspiring as a church. I hope you will join us for the Learning Community at 9:00 a.m. and worship at
10:30 a.m.

Also, don’t forget that this Wednesday night at 6:00 pm you’re invited to come hear Ben and Eunice Stoner share about their ministry to the Navajo in New Mexico. They have served Native Americans for years and they’re eager to share what God is doing where they live. Please join us after Eat & Run in room A1 for a time of listening and prayer. 

I’m praying for you. Please pray for one another. May Christ continue to change us with his transforming love.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

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