Pastoral Ponderings: Election Thoughts, and Listening Times

Pastoral Ponderings
November 11, 2016

I am pondering this week’s election. And pondering what it means about this country–who we are and what the future holds. And I ponder as one who had hoped that the election would have gone another way, so I know that not everyone who reads this will share my concerns. I also know that there are many in this city who know this congregation to be a friend of immigrants and refugees, of Muslims and Jews, of lesbians and gays and transgender persons, of displaced and homeless persons, for women’s voices and leadership, for full inclusion of people of all races and ethnicities. In short, this congregation has been a friend and ally of many of the very persons who find the new administration to be cause for fear and suspicion. I want to be sure that these constituencies and friends will know of our love and care at this time. I want those who have counted on us as friends and companions along the way to know that they are in our hearts and prayers–we are all one.

And we will all look toward a joyful and inclusive future that we will build together. The move toward inclusiveness is not the product of a few and does not belong to one political party. Yes, of course there is resistance to this more generous and expansive sense of nation and community. Some view the changes that are happening as threatening to their sense of wholeness and well-being. I think we should listen to those voices, but we should not become cynical or abandon the brighter vision of a future in which (the United States of) America is a beacon of justice and welcome to those who are at the margins. “Beloved, Love one another for Love is of God and those who love know God.” (1 John 4: 7) This is the center of our faith and commitment as a people of God and followers of Jesus.

Last Sunday, when I had a prior commitment and was not in the pulpit here, I took part in the Installation Service for Rev. Dr. Valerie Jackson at University Park UMC in Denver. It was a glorious event. Valerie is the first African-American and first woman to be appointed senior pastor for that congregation that has much in common with you and your values. Bishop Karen Oliveto preached. Representatives of Iliff School of Theology and DU and various community groups gave greetings. The music was a wonderful blend of classic and jazz and gospel. We had such a full sense of God’s spirit and love in the Place. I believe that is our future. It makes me glad to be a follower of Christ.

So now let me turn attention to what is happening right here at First UMC, Boulder. I am aware that there are hurts and confusions about these past months and the changes in pastoral leadership here. I know that people have concerns for the church. Next week I am planning some “listening hours” when I will be available for people to drop by to talk. There will be two time blocks when I will be in the office, and one when I will be at Starbucks (a block away on the Pearl St Mall). You can come during any of these times without an appointment:

Monday, 11/14, 9:30 – 11:00 am (in the office)
Thursday 11/17, 4:00-5:30 pm (in the office)
Thursday 11/17 10:00 – 11:00 am (Starbucks on the Pearl St Mall)

If you want a more private time to talk, either this week or in the future, please call the church office to make an appointment with me: 303.442.3770.

I look forward to talking with many of you in the days and week to come.

Warmly,
Dale

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Rev. Dale Beck is the Interim Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Boulder. Email him at dab.fumc at gmail dot com.

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