Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Letter to the Congregation: Welcome and Grace

November 4, 2014

Members of Grace,

I’m writing to let you know that Hope Korean Presbyterian Church has given us notice that they will be moving to another location.  The reason for their move is rooted in their belief that God looks unfavorably upon LGBTQ individuals.  Although Grace has welcomed ALL people for much longer than I have been your pastor, the publicity around my installation and an upcoming conference for LGBTQ Christians that will be held at the church seems to be a deal breaker for Hope.

The council has met several times to talk about this issue and we have done a lot of reaching out to Hope and worked to improve our communication and hospitality.  In response to Hope, the council stood firm their desire to live out God’s welcome and love for all. 

The council has now voted twice to support our welcome statement:
Welcome to long-time Lutherans, Christians from every tradition, and people new to faith. Welcome to all who have no church home, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe. Welcome to new visitors and old friends. Welcome to people of every age and size, color and culture, every sexual orientation and gender identity, socio-economic status, marital status, ability and challenge. Welcome to believers and questioners, and to questioning believers. This is a place where you are welcome to celebrate and sorrow, rejoice and recover.  This is a place where lives are made new.

I believe that the love of God is unstoppable and knows no bounds.  In baptism, God claims us, regardless of the choices we will make later in our life.  And, nothing, nothing, nothing can ever separate us from that love.

I pray that that love of God will go with Hope to their new location.  I pray that anyone who has ever been told that God couldn’t love them, will experience the breath and depth of the Spirit that travels farther and faster than our words.  I pray that this transition will light a spark that grows and revitalizes our congregation. 

Please let me, or a council member know if you have any questions about this matter.  And, thank you for being so gracious and loving to all who visit us.  You truly live a welcome to ALL who come to our congregation.

I love you all very much and I am proud to be your pastor,

Pastor Megan Rohrer

P.S. Some time in the next two months, I will be hosting a dinner at Grace to try to raise all or most of the $18,000/year in revenue that will be lost when Hope leaves.  If you feel moved to make a special gift to the church in support of our full welcome to all, please let Sally Ann know, or include the words “All Are Welcome” on a check or offering envelope.