So, here’s a just-about-to-press-send letter I’m forwarding to churches and friends (probably mostly my parents’ friends). I’m about to, Lord willing the finances work, spend more time and energy “pastoring” the missional community we’ve called The WordHouse. Maybe I’ll even be able to officially remove the quotations in the near future, but that’s for another time.
Here’s the letter:
“Dear friend and co-worker in Christ’s kingdom,
You may or may not have known where (and how) I’ve been ministering lately. But if you would, please allow me to share:
Starting two years ago, a group in which I have been like-a-pastor is cultivating Christ-like community and Christian faith here in Sacramento – to be, essentially, community.
This community formed out of a desire to know and be known. Specifically, to know and know we are known by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and to know and be known by other people.
To be the community God in Jesus Christ is calling us, we try to embody welcome, hospitality, intimacy, grace and justice. Our gatherings occur in each others’ homes or at other “everyday” places. We eat together. Share our happiness and heart-aches – and everything in-between – together. We pray for each other, those we love and even our enemies together. We converse over scripture, receive and share God’s word with one another. We worship God in song together, as well as in our relationships and work. We encourage and support each other to serve appropriately and creatively. Each meeting has a particular structural emphasis, but we leave it up God and those gathered to determine what we actually do, because God’s Spirit is in our midst.
To be who God is calling us, we must love those who are hurt and allow them to speak. We desire to live into God’s reality – God’s justice and mercy – amongst ourselves and our neighbors in Sacramento. We know we get things wrong. We hurt, and also hurt others. Yet, in Christ we are all God’s children. We also know, under the lordship of Jesus Christ, others have different yet still faithful answers to their as well as the worlds questions. Therefore, we seek to honor one another above ourselves. Our worship services or gatherings enable us to ask questions and share answers, allow hurt and pain to ease or surface, to receive and sense God’s healing presence and propel us toward right action.
Most in our small community are in their 20s and 30s and beginning their working careers (some with jobs, some without). All are on their own faith journey in which we all participate. Your support will enable me to more-fully shepherd this faith community as we take root, grow and be an encouragement to non-Christians and Christian communities alike.
In God’s grace and peace,
Jeffrey O. Richards, M. Div”
In the spirit of open-source and being in this life together, what do you think?