To Welcome. To Join. To Stay.

I was recently struck by a blog entitled “Why would I join a church where that happens?” by Presbyterian minister Joshua Bower. Rev. Bower gives a powerful example of a bad “church-minister break up,” and goes on to reflect on personal examples of what drives or keeps people away from churches.

We’ve all had those moments, times of disappointment, disillusionment and shame over events or circumstances in a community, a church, our family, or ourselves. As Bower says, “The Church [just like the rest of the world] is a messy place full of beautiful, complicated and [imperfect] people.”

On the verge of a new church year and the Jewish High Holy Days, it is a good time to consider the meaning of hospitality and how we can commit to it.

What is it that brought, and welcomed you to our church community? How can you support that or pass it on to others?

Is there anything you see as being unwelcoming; an area for growth and development? Consider how you can connect with others to have a positive conversation about how we might grow in this area, and how you can help?

Rev. Joshua Bower talks about joining the church because he knows that he too is imperfect, but also knows he has gifts to offer. He knows that there is something powerful and sacred in sharing our gifts and working together.

May we remember to be hospitable to and forgiving of ourselves, that we may better offer our gifts to each other. Let moments of disappointment motivate us to commit ourselves to transformation from the inside out, in ourselves, in our church community, and in our world.