Cultivating Beloved Community

On Saturday, March 7, Leadership Team met for a retreat and decided on this as an annual vision for ministry:

“We will cultivate beloved community by deepening relationships within and beyond our congregation.”

The following day was the last time we worshiped together in our building before the pandemic shut down.  Cultivating beloved community has looked a lot different in 2020 than we imagined.

The word “Beloved” was spoken over Jesus at his baptism and transfiguration.  It’s a reality already true but not yet fully realized for all of us.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke often of the Beloved Community.  It was his phrase of choice for the church and society of which he dreamed – one in which harms were repaired, justice practiced, and equity maintained. 

We could substitute the Beloved Community for Jesus’ phrase of choice – the Kingdom of God.  The Beloved Community is like a mustard seed…   The Beloved Community is like yeast…  The Beloved Community is within you.

For the month of October and into November our worship theme will be “Cultivating Beloved Community.”  It is quite intentional to have this in the lead up to the election.  As difficult as it is to consider, the most challenging aspects of 2020 are almost certainly still ahead of us. Our President’s refusal to commit to accepting election results if they aren’t in his favor and his unwillingness to renounce white supremacy are both massive breaches of anything resembling democracy, let alone Beloved Community. 

Our Anabaptist understanding of Christian faith has much to offer us for a spiritual grounding.  The Beloved Community is the right kind of alternative reality.  It is a gift.  And it takes cultivating to grow. 

As a start, may G-d help us all cultivate Beloved Community within the conflicted and anxious parts of ourselves.