During this Creation Season we have been broadening our understanding of who is our neighbor to include the earth and all creatures. We should love the earth as we love ourselves. Yet we also need to think about our human neighbors in our American culture of violence.
How do we, as Christians generally, and as a congregation in particular, address gun violence, racism, exclusion of those different from ourselves-- all problems rampant in our society today? One of the responses we have made is to publicly state our support for gun control with a banner across the front of our building. Our Social Witness Committee has reflected on ways we can make our voices heard as a community of Christians proclaiming the message of the way of love and peace Jesus teaches us. And we thank Deacon Margaret McCauley for all the work she did leading our efforts at social justice here at St. John's.
So, where do we go from here? This past Saturday our Vestry reflected on whether we should replace the sign on the front of our church, since the old one is weathered over time. Several suggestions emerged from the Social Witness Committee, as well as the congregation, as to what the appropriate message might be for a new sign. The Holy Spirit seemed to be working in the room as we discussed these questions when the idea emerged that maybe we shouldn't have a sign over our doors at all for right now. Rather, we will take the funds set aside for that sign and use them for education and programmatic work as we seek to speak out against our culture of violence and envision the way of love as disciples of Jesus.
We are not stepping back from our proclamation. We are moving forward in ways that we feel may be more effective. You are invited to continue this conversation as to how we might more effectively engage issues of peace and justice in our city and nation. The first meeting of the Social Witness Committee for this new program year will be Sunday, September 29, after the 11:00 a.m. mass. Anyone interested in furthering these ideas is encouraged to be part of the conversation.