News from AllianceQ: September 2022

What joy? Reflections from the EDM

A friend and colleague died this week. I was revisiting photos and memories and his joy radiated through each picture. In one, he was among the group laying hands and praying for me at my ordination. In another photo, he was dancing with his daughter at my wedding. Still another, he was smiling as he listened to me preach. (It looks like he was listening… Do people actually listen to our sermons? Do people read what we write?) Bill was one of the first people to call me Pastor, and it was long before my ordination.

Navigating death, grief, COVID – last month my family passed COVID from person to person, even our baby. What joy. Trudging through emails from my bonding leave. Trying to catch up, hoping to get ahead, or at least stay on top of things. What joy?

I receive Sandhya Jha’s Joy in Racial Justice newsletter. Sandhya writes, “This monthly newsletter is mostly my way of reminding us all that in addition to dismantling systems of oppression, we are building something beautiful with every intentional act of justice. It’s my way of connecting to my community.”

Dear Sandhya,

Thank you for reminding me that there is real joy in justice work.

Dear You,

Thank you for showing up for the work of building a more just and inclusive church. Thank you also for being patient with my email replies and with our website launch (coming so very soon!) and the process in your own context for becoming Open & Affirming or deepening your welcome.

No matter the time, times, or timing, may we remember that we are building something beautiful. (Feel free to remind me, to call me out, call me in.)

Years ago, I played this song on repeat:

From the refrain:

You make beautiful thingsYou make beautiful things out of the dustYou make beautiful thingsYou make beautiful things out of us

What joy!

This is the first photo I described; Bill is smiling behind me:

What joy!

Here are the September Open & Affirming anniversaries. What joy!

We are gathering in-person for the first time in two years. The Colors of Hope Retreat is October 24-27. What joy!

You are electing new leaders for the AllianceQ Council (did you vote?). What joy!

Do people actually listen to our sermons? Do people read what we write? 

Do we embrace the invitations? Do we engage with the many calls for justice? 

Thanks for readingplease respond. Connect with me, with our Moderator, with the AllianceQ community, with the many Disciples Justice Ministries.

There’s joy in justice and we have work to do:

This newsletter article from Sandhya is from 2020, but in it they highlight how young people, how all of us, can “make a difference in the world right now.”

This AllianceQ article provides “10+ ways to support our trans siblings.

Other suggestions:

Register for New Church Ministry’s Leadership Academy.

Join the National Benevolent Association for its inaugural Giving Week. This week, September 5 – 9.

Give to the Reconciliation Offering September 25 – October 2.

Sign up for Sandhya Jha’s Joy in Racial Justice newsletter!

Confession: As I composed this reflection, my toddler snuck into my office space and I had a twinge of frustration – I need to finish this. But I paused and welcomed her into my lap. She laid her half eaten squashed banana on an important document and wrapped her arms and legs around me. What joy!

I’ve got work to do – we’ve got work to do. WHAT JOY!