A few weeks ago, I spoke with David Blevins about this. As the Director of our City Department of Social Services, he knew where I was coming from. And he had a word of comfort. “When numbers don’t win,” he said, “look at the effects individuals can have. Are we liberal Christians not supposed to be like yeast to society? Like leaven in bread, our impact does contribute to its transformation even if we cannot boast large numbers.”
Shortly after the conversation with David, I read Howard Bess’ book “Pastor, I Am Gay”, (Palmer, Alaska 1995). Bess warns that it is inappropriate to expect a sudden spur in membership growth just because of the declaration that a congregation is open and affirming. “More likely,” Bess writes, “the open and affirming congregation will be the salt that will flavor the whole community of churches. They will more likely be the leaven that will cause the Christian community to rise to new significance in the general population. They will more likely be the candle that can bring light into a very dark room.”
We can generalize these insights and say that this is our main role as a congregation of the Reformed Church in America here in this community and at this specific time. As we embark on a renewed journey together this fall, I wish us all the confidence and positive spirit that come from being rooted in God’s unconditional love.
With fond wishes,