Dear Church Family and Friends,
We write to you unified in our feelings of disappointment and frustration, as well as hope and gratitude. The Fairness Ordinance, which so many of you have worked so tirelessly for years to pass, was defeated by the City Council last night in a vote of 5 to 3.
As so often happens in this world pervaded by sin, fear won the day. We watched as fears about money, power, and religious condemnation swept across and knocked down our carefully and faithfully constructed effort at creating a more just city.
But we are a people who are called to walk forward in the light even in the midst of fear and darkness. We are called to speak truth and love to power, and to do so accompanied by the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who breathes in us hope even in the darkest of nights. Ours is a story of love triumphing over fear, compassion triumphing over hate, life triumphing over death. Our story is that we serve a God who does not give up on justice, no matter what the setbacks.
This morning, we your pastors are grateful that Jesus did not say, “the kingdom of heaven is like a divided city council.” Rather, Jesus taught us that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, small and strong, that grows into a large and life-giving plant. Our seedling endured a storm last night, but it is growing still, as God’s love for all people will not be stopped by votes and politics.
Whether this vote passed or not, we would still have work to do in struggling for justice and equality for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning loved ones. Now it is clear exactly how much work we have to do. We cannot be complacent; we cannot let this effort flag now.
Tomorrow we will be placing a banner outside the church that says,
’Love your neighbor’ is not followed by the word ‘Unless.’
We hope that this will become a reminder to our community as well as ourselves that we are called always to stand on the side of love, of welcome, of acceptance, and of justice. We are called to do so kindly and with compassion for all, but also unfailingly in the face of harmful and unjust practices. This requires courage in all our daily conversations with our neighbors, in all the relationships we build. Those conversations will be far more effective than any banner, and frankly, more important than any council vote. Those conversations are what build up the kingdom of God.
We are committed to continuing the struggle for justice, and we know you are, too. We join with you in prayers and grief, and we join with you also in the unrelenting service of God’s impartial love. In peace and hope,
Rev. Kent and Rev. Rachel