Local church communities form because of common lived experience, common ideals and a common locale. Over the years some stay exactly as they began as generations of families come faithfully through the same doors, sit in the same pews surrounded by the same people doing the same things year after year. Other communities morph as the neighborhood changes, as monies dry up and as buildings deteriorate.
And then there is Bay View United Methodist Church!
Trinity Methodist and Bethel Evangelical United Brethren Churches began their union on June 2, 1968 witnessing to the neighborhood as they walked first toward one another on Kinnickinnic Avenue and then together into the Trinity building, where we are today, and becoming the newly named Bay View United Methodist Church.
Honored heritage, customs and ways of being melded and morphed with good leadership from both laity and clergy alike over the next 49 years, offering a continual presence of ministry, fellowship and service that brings us to realize that our ‘shared ministry’ is soon to be 50 years old!
I believe the strongest point of this union has been the seamless commitment to it while remaining willing to name the legacy of the individuals and congregations from which we’ve come. This is not unlike a successful marriage which is made all the stronger when the individuals can freely honor their origins, all while celebrating the new unity and opportunities which birth from it.
Bravo Bay View UMC!
Another in the mighty cache of affirmations that this Church can celebrate is the absolute gift of unconditional welcome that is offered. Surely there have been individuals who have fallen short and situations that can be recalled that have been less than fruitful here. But, overall and above any of these IS a collective experience of universal, unconditional and even a risky fervor to welcome ALL people.
Again, Bravo Bay View UMC!
As far as introductions – you’ve welcomed so many among you over these 49 years, and you’ve sent many home with that same loving care. The face of this congregation glows with the palpable, shared experience of God’s love and you have extended that love in countless ways: through Worship, in its various expressions led by diverse and wonderful volunteer vocal and instrumental musicians; Education, as you touch the youngest to the oldest with creative, constructive and, most of all, open dialogue about matters of faith and the world in which we live; Outreach, naming officially in 2013 and continuing to be a Reconciling Congregation, welcoming ALL people into the life of this community; and in Mission, through the many trips away and especially through the Bread & Jam Free Meal offered to our neighbors each Sunday. This rare unity across a wide range of belief, opinion and lived experience IS what makes us great examples of United Methodism at its best and what makes this Church an attractive option for a personal connection.
Friends! I’m seeing another year of celebrating ahead! Rather than focus on the 130th legacy anniversary, I’m feeling a real need to look at 50 years of unity in our United Methodist relationship and ministry. I’ve already looked at the calendar and June 2-3, 2018 is a weekend! Anyone wanna help me cast a vision for a grand event?
Peace be with each of you,