News from AllianceQ: April 2023

A Prayer from Rev. Ari Douglas from Ashes Alive, "Dancing in the tension"

Sacred and Divine
We know that…
Water is sacred, water is life
Water in the form of our tears
Tears of joy
Tears of sorrow
Tears of righteous anger

. . .

We come for so many reasons:
The joy of seeing friends
The pain of division in sacred spaces
And the hope of being glitter in others’ lives
Taking rest and feeling our souls refreshed
Dancing in a tension in our lives that are a mix of that life and that ash

Even in death there is life,
In cremation a bodies remains are hurled over 100 times from the planet Pluto in Brilliant light that shines out beyond the universe and for all eternity
Even while we are being attacked grant us wisdom grant us courage for the facing of this hour

We feel sorrow for our own worlds health but hope in actions both as individuals and entities to take true care of this place you’ve put into our cooperative stewardship

Even with our many challenges you bring us glitter…
Glitter in the form of
The images of The Holy in the sacred faces of each person here
Glitter in the place of
Seeing churches not just vote but act on inclusion
Glitter in experiencing
The joy of welcoming people to Affirming places
Experiencing glitter in
Unexpected and hopeful spaces

Delighting in glitter
Through the eyes of a five year old being awed by azalea bushes

This we lift to you oh God who is defined by the creation of sunsets, sunrises, deepest midnight, and brightest noon hour, oceans, and mountains, coastline and boggy marsh.

Rev. Ari Douglas offered this prayer at the close of the April 11 Ashes Alive Easter Week Community Gathering. Gathered from coast to coast, from a range of contexts, individuals reflected on the joy and grief tangled up in Easter. On the glitter experienced in unexpected spaces.

An adaptation of “Beautiful Things” by Gungor centered us:

“Easter is messy and fleshy. The Easter season – every season – holds joy and grief. But hope – hope – is springing up from this old ground. Because God makes beautiful things out of the dust… out of us.”

You can download the full program from the gathering here. We hope you’ll join us for upcoming opportunities to dance in the tension.

Rev. Ari Douglas (they/them) is openly nonbinary-agender and bisexual (their gender and others), and is the pastor of Portsmouth Union Church in Portland Oregon, a union of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Methodist Church. Ari is a M.Div. graduate of Phillips Theological Seminary and is attending there for their D.Min. focused on teaching clergy and laity how to be activists. They are the father to an eleven year old autistic child, and step-fur-parent to two cats.

Many thanks to Ari and to James Knudtson and Kim Leon for sharing their voices during the Ashes Alive event.

James Knudtson (they/them) is a multiply disabled intersex artist and community advocate. They embody a spirit of creativity, an intrepid sense of adventure, and a dogged faith in the power of love for all.

Rev. Dr. Kim Leon (she/her) serves as Chaplain at Boone Hospital in Columbia, MO. She leads the Open and Affirming team at First Christian Church (DOC) in Columbia where she is a member. Kim enjoys competing in crossword puzzle leagues and tournaments.