Last month Pastor Kelly wrote about our need to “belong” to something. She highlighted the fact that our desire to belong is a biological one…satisfying a basic human need to feel connected and safe. I couldn’t agree more! Consider for a moment what groups or organizations you “belong to” besides our church. That list may include a veteran’s organization, a garden or book club, a service organization such as the Lion’s Club or maybe even a kickball team. The point is that we by our very nature crave the company of others who welcome us and who share the same interests.
And so it is with our church. As a United Methodist congregation we are part of a denomination that encompasses the entire globe. I don’t know about you but when I’m traveling and I see our Cross & Flame logo on a local church it warms my heart. I feel that way because I know that within that building and community are like-minded people and if I should ever get in trouble while traveling, it’s one of the first places I would go for help.
This is also why Pastor Kelly and I give our time to our Southeast Covenant Faith Community events such as our ecumenical Good Friday service and the occasional Night of Conversation at the Islamic Society. Rather than embracing a sense of competition between us, these local churches support one another because they recognize that we are indeed all in this together. Martin Luther spoke of “being part of the priesthood of all believers.” I hear those words as an invitation to explore the world that exists beyond the four walls of my own church and home.
With that in mind I want to share that, on the weekend of August 18-20 our Bishop Hee-Soo Jung will be leading a bus tour of some of Milwaukee’s various faith communities. I’ve been working with him to set up a diverse schedule that begins on Friday night with a visit to Congregation Shalom to participate in their Shabbat service. Saturday will include visits to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, The Islamic Society of Milwaukee and The Hindu Temple of Wisconsin. On Sunday morning the group will worship at St. Mary & St. Antonious Coptic Orthodox Church. In a few weeks I will have some promotional materials for this tour available. But for now, check your calendar and decide if you might want to participate in what I’m sure will be an instructive and fun opportunity.
And please, take a Sunday morning sometime to visit another church in your neighborhood. Let them know how much you appreciate their presence and all they do. Because together…we can really make a difference!