With Deep Gratitude...

With Deep Gratitude…

Almost 5 years ago, I received a call to jump on a train to meet Bishop J and the Personnel Committee of a progressive church in Manhattan. Since that day, I have been on a great spiritual journey with this church that will continue for the rest of my life.

Like so many people who walk into this community, I have found something so special here. I have found a community that saw all of the parts of me that were outside of the norm, the parts of me that were constantly micro-aggressioned down until I sometimes felt like I was less deserving of respect and value. And, instead of ignoring or minimizing those parts of me, this community celebrated those parts. Female?! Young?! Biracial?! Progressive?! Yes! We want you. We value you. We see God in and through you. I know many of you have felt that same feeling when you came to this church. This church radiates God’s love and delight in each of us–especially in the parts that so often get beaten down in the world.

It is because I have had that special experience that I feel called to offer the same to as many other people as I can. You all have shown me that it is possible to be in a Christian community that celebrates diversity and proclaims justice, and the world needs more communities like this one. And so, with a deep spirit of gratitude and with some serious sadness, I want to let you know that I expect to leave Church of the Village in July. God has given me a vision to plant new justice-seeking and inclusive communities, to spread this movement of progressive United Methodism beyond our walls. I am exploring this possibility with our District Superintendent and many others, and I believe that God will make a way if God is at work.

I ask you to partner with me in prayer as I continue to discern this new direction in my ministry and, most of all, I ask you to pray for all the people just like you who could be a part of this sacred movement if only they found the right church.

I will miss you all, and I will miss working with our amazing staff. But know that, as long as you are thriving and faithful, you will always inspire people to go out to new places to spread the love, justice, and courage that they have found at Church of the Village. Whether it is through our interns, our parishioners who relocate, our homegrown people who are called to seminary and ordination because they have been here, as strange as it sounds, something very right and good is happening here when these folks leave. Through these COTV daughters and sons, the spirit of this church lives in many places–in San Francisco, in Omaha, in Oklahoma, in Maryland, in Croton-on-Hudson, even in Houston! And that’s just as it should be.

God did great things in this community before I ever knew of it, and God will continue to do great things after I leave. I have great confidence in my friends and colleagues, Pastor Jeff and Pastor Elyse (who is coming on staff!!) and I am excited to see how God will move and transform all of us in this important ministry that we are all doing together. You will always have my love and my deep gratitude.