Dear friends,

During this month, we have been exploring grief.  Whether you have delved deeply into the meditations and practices, or simply listened as our guest preachers and fellow congregants have striven to give a voice to grief, you have been a part of this journey.  Reverend William Johnson gave us a wonderful message on the necessity of naming our grief in the first of a two-part series of “Giving a Voice to Grief. “ He assured us that God is there, sitting in the midst, wherever and whenever we are grieving.

During our “Becoming the Beloved Community” moment, Cathy Nichols shared a beautiful look at grief while onsite in the Garden of Gethsemane. If you would like to listen to it again, you can access it here on our Facebook page .

Mary Alice shared a moving story at the table on Sunday, of how, when confronted with the monstrosity of the Cambodian genocide at the Choeng Ek Genocidal Center, she asked, “Where is God?  Where was God in all of this?”  Then she saw a picture painted by a survivor of that time. He had painted a gaunt man, chained to the wall.  When she gazed at the picture, she saw that this man was Christ.  God is truly with us amid our pain.

This is our hope.  God has, and always will be with us.  Since God is with us, we can be there for one another.  This is how we become the Beloved Community.  We share one another’s joys, one another’s sorrows.  We show up.  We listen.  And we learn how to move on, together.  And while we are doing that, we invite others who are hurting to step inside our circle.  Or we go and sit with them in their circle.  Just like God does.

This will be our last week of focusing on Grief.  We will meet on Thursday night to share in Covenant Conversations, to discuss “A Movement for Wholeness: Seeking Covenantal Relationships with a Loving and Living God.” On Sunday, Reverend Johnson will bring a message titled “When the Church Sings the Blues.”  And all throughout the week, you can explore and practice naming your grief and spending time with God as you access the resources on grief found here.

May this journey bring you to the exact place God wants you to be.

The Ministry Planning Team – Lori Bryant, Janis Brown, Mary Alice Do, and Paul DeArman