A word from Ray – April

A word from Ray – April

Nashville, we are coming for you!  Many of us are descending onto the musical motherland, known as Nashville. In fact, if you are reading this prior to Tuesday April 23rd, it is not too late to join us. For many of us, the opportunity to gather annually serves as a boost in the arm, while for others it serves as the equivalent of a midday siesta. Regardless, for each of us, gathering with a few hundred siblings in the faith, hearing encouraging and challenging teachings from scripture, and being equipped with tools that we can take back home with us will rightly affect the rhythms that we keep. We are better suited to come back to an up-tempo cadence of ministry and life.

On a more personal side, I want to share one anecdote with you from recent, as well as offer an invitation.

Just the other night my youngest kids (8 & 10) and I were watching “the letter show,” Wheel of Fortune. For us this show is one of those things that when you surf past it, you stop and watch. In the middle of a puzzle, the show was interrupted with live coverage from Israel. I watched with a heavy heart as my two young kids asked what the bright lights were that were flaming through sky in the background of the news coverage. Now, mind you, this was just days after our entire nation had spent hours staring at the moon, covering the sun. This spectacle, which looked a lot like fireballs or comets passing through the night sky, was 500 rounds… Friends, I didn’t speak to my daughter and son about who was right in this standoff. I did not seek to draw lines of allegiance tied to my political understandings. I cried. I joined my kids in the awe that they were struck with – the fear and the wonder of lives that would be lost that night.

Similarly to the ways that I joined with my own family, The Fellowship Community is so much more than just a national gathering. It is, as the redundancy of our name suggests, a community. We are a deeply connected and committed network. Over the past few weeks, many of us have leaned into this community as we embraced new, as well as reoccurring, concerns with the BOP changes and the overtures that are before GA. (BTW, if you are looking to learn more about these overtures and other GA information, we will have a dedicated conversation at the Gathering.) We called on each other as we sought to understand how to digest and process the threat around the world, as war emerges. We walked with one another as we held the complexities of our personal and professional lives on display for our congregations and communities. All of this, albeit difficult, is handled with much greater grace, because of you! Thanks for being The Fellowship Community.

*If there are any who would be interested in being a part of a conversation about how we can intentionally grow younger and grow more diverse, please reach out to me. I will be hosting a few visioning times together as we plot our way through this great effort.

May you be blessed,

Pastor Ray Garcia

Ray Garcia is pastor of Roxborough Church in Philadelphia, PA and serves as The Fellowship Community’s Coordinator for Connections and Recruitment.