Pastor Debbie's E-Devotion - April 23, 2020

Good day!
I have missed gathering with you all and seeing you in person. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers regularly and if I can be of help or support at this time, I am here. If you need someone to talk to, someone to get groceries or other items, or help to work through a situation, please feel free to contact me.

The vision team had been working on some possible actions for our church as a follow up to your answers on the Next Steps Survey we did in the Fall. Some of those actions have been delayed as we have tried to work on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One-piece that was in the works was sharing a banner in our sanctuary to help people who visit us be aware of our congregation's desire to be more visible as open and affirming. (As a reminder,76% of those who responded indicated they were interested or very interested in doing more to welcome LGBTQ individuals within our church).

We shared a picture of the banner in an espire (also seen here) and then had it in the conference room for a couple of weeks. We planned to display it in the sanctuary starting on March 22. We have changed that date, to "when we return". As part of our sharing, we invited you to share questions or comments and one thing that came up multiple times was the use of the word "queer" on the banner.

The Vision Team has discussed your concern and we recognize that the use of the word "queer" (or avoidance of it) has strong generational/cultural differences. In some generations, queer was a negative slur and was to be avoided. In younger generations, queer has been reclaimed as a more universal term describing the LGBTQIA community. Its use and acceptability will differ from person to person (some may use it and claim it for themselves and others may avoid it altogether). In seeking to be an ally, a safe step would be to let someone who self identifies tell you how they want to be described (gay, lesbian, queer, or otherwise). In all cases, please know it is with this understanding and intent that we have used it on our banner.

For some outside perspective on the use of the word, you might read this or this or this.

Related to that, the General Conference of the UMC that was scheduled to meet in May in Minneapolis has been postponed (meeting and voting virtually would have been far too much to do for roughly 850 voting delegates from around the world). The Council of Bishops has set tentative dates for Aug/September of 2021.

Locally, the shared gathering of the Greater Northwest for the annual conference in June has been canceled. Local voting and decisions are tentatively scheduled to be handled by the annual conference in the Fall.

Peace and health,
Pastor Debbie

 

P.S. Two new things are starting. 1) The 9 am Sunday school class will meet virtually. Please contact Rebecca Haley or Rose Prather if you want to join them. 2) We will be offering a "virtual coffee hour" after our Sunday morning worship. This will happen via zoom. Fred and Sonya Meyer are the hosts for 4/26. The zoom link is: https://uidaho.zoom.us/j/99022841074 If you are new to zoom, please see the attached page for how to get started, or reach out to me (951-966-6161) or Sonya (307-761-0027) for assistance.

 

May God bless you,
Pastor Debbie

 

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