From time to time, we on the regional minister team have been encouraged by you to offer pastoral or prophetic words. Of course, many of the most egregious situations on our national communal landscape can leave us utterly speechless! This is true for me regarding the events and responses involving what happened in Charlottesville over this past weekend. I’d like to share a message written by Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore of Webster Groves CC, who was present in Charlottesville. He participated in the protests as part of a group of clergy providing a prayerful witness against hatred and demonstrating God’s love for all. As we are all church together, I am also grateful for and offer you prayers that were spoken from pulpits in our region on Sunday. Please click the links for a sampling from Rev. Loy Hoskins of FCC in Marshall, Rev. Nick Larson of Broadway CC in Columbia, our Minister of Reconciliation Rev. April Johnson, and our General Minister and President, Rev. Teresa Hord Owens. Some of our partner organizations including the United Church of Christ, Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, and the National Council of Churches have also issued statements.
I am utterly grateful that these prayers have stirred my consciousness. I am equally grateful that our Mid-America Region has been proactive rather than merely reactive in response. Our daily work, week in and week out, has been working toward pro-reconciliation and anti-racism together. Long before white nationalists organized a march in Charlottesville, your PRAR team has been working toward healing our divisions with a message of inclusion and acceptance. Long before we realized as pastors that we needed to collaborate and join together to discuss how we can effectively minister in turbulent times, your colleagues have been working on our Persons in Ministry retreat for this September.
I believe Jesus' most prophetic words were contained in what we read as a four-word response when he was challenged, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:37 For pastors and others wanting a prophetic, pastoral conversations on where to turn next, Go! and take advantage of what is offered now. Our two upcoming PRAR trainings will include conversations about Charlottesville. Our Persons in Ministry Retreat is aptly titled, "Pastoral, Prophetic, Perturbed: Ministry in Turbulent Times." Your loss and emptiness, "your grain houses" will become full by wrestling with biblical texts among colleagues and hearing prophetic words from Dr. John Thomas, our PIM keynote speaker. Remember, financial assistance is available for both! Here are the links to register and find out more: PRAR training PiM Retreat
Trying to do likewise,
Paul Koch, RMT
Additional statements added since original publication:
Broadway Christian Church
Video statement by General Minister & President Rev. Terri Hord Owen