As I read this letter to the editor of a community newspaper, I was blessed! Imagine, a member of a local church who loves the Lord (yes, this is sarcasm!). Seriously though, wouldn’t the local church look so different to each of us if every member of the body of Christ would open our hearts and minds so the doors of fellowship could be thrown open in welcome to all?
Open hearts, minds, doors
These are hard times for the church, but I have noticed a great trial facing many. It seems many are working to figure out how to bring together old and new traditions, or how to bring together the people who hold fast to one style of worship or another.
Nearly 10 years ago, there was a small group at Sturgis First United Methodist Church with a vision for a contemporary service. What some of us thought should be an easy task, became a long, hard, even hurtful journey, but it has been a journey of spiritual growth.
At Sturgis FUMC we offer three services to meet the worship styles of all who attend, but what I believe has been an integral part in opening eyes, has been the few times a year when all come together for a united service. This has fostered an intergenerational feeling of love and respect for one another. There may be a traditional call to worship, the choir may sing, the organ may be played, but along with this, the worship band with drums that has been placed where some of the choir pews used to be, will lead worship with more contemporary music, sometimes provided by our youth music team. Many worship styles are brought together and the result is beautiful.
When division happens within our churches over the elements of worship, much time is spent on resolving conflict, when it could be spent serving others. St. John’s Episcopal Church offers a wonderful example of how church leaders are working to meet the needs of not only worship styles, but also to reach the needs of the Hispanic people in our community. Kudos to Meredith Hunt and her congregation for thinking forward and reaching out to all.
Open hearts, open minds, open doors. I love these words the United Methodist Church has adopted as a commission. I offer them to others today whose church families are struggling with both old and new traditions. Whether you stand or sit, use drums or a beautiful organ, or your service is said in English, Spanish, or both, we are all called to be the hands and feet of Jesus by opening our hearts and minds…and sometimes, that means with the very people you worship with each Sunday.
A. Sayers, Sturgis
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