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Friday, July 14, 2017

David Ensign: Lessons from the Road

(source: Doylestown Presbyterian Church)
no copyright infringement intended

I found these words and they seemed to me of great wisdom, and reason for challenging thoughts.

Reverend David Ensign:
I was in Chattanooga with two of our kids, visiting family and doing a bit of work on the film project that our middle child, Martin, and I are working on this summer. Martin and I visited two worshiping communities last week. First, we worshiped on Sunday morning with my mom in the Presbyterian congregation that I grew up in. The Northside Presbyterian Church is about as traditional a congregation as one could possibly imagine, and most of the folks in the sanctuary were closer in age to my mom, who turns 90 in October, than to my young adult children.
On Monday afternoon, we visited with some folks from the Mercy Junction worshipping community that gathers in a crumbling old building that was once one of the largest Methodist churches in Chattanooga. It sits in a marginal neighborhood and Mercy Junction serves and ministers alongside the mostly poor folks who live there. Among the folks we interviewed for the film at Mercy Junction was their hospitality coordinator, a trans woman Cherokee shaman. Needless to say, Mercy Junction is not your grandmother's Presbyterian church.
It would be difficult to find two Presbyterian worshipping communities more different than the ones we visited in two days last week, but I was struck by their common commitments and common struggles. As distinct as they are from each other, they share a commitment to gathering for worship and for serving their neighbors. They also each struggle mightily to make their budgets work. In other words, they're both a lot like most other small churches in our denomination and in so many others, too.
The differences are not unimportant, to be sure. But last week, perhaps because I was not at home, what struck me most was the ways that other peoples' "home" is not all that different from mine. Our hopes and dreams and struggles are always our own, but they are also seldom that different from any one else's.

(Church in America)


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