“Becoming Beloved Community”
Isaiah 9.1-4 and 1 Corinthians 1.10-18
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning, Plymouth Congregational UCC
Fort Collins, Colorado
January 22, 2023
What brings you here today? What brings you to worship this morning in our pews or in our virtual balcony? Take a moment to see how you might answer that question. There isn’t a right or wrong answer.
Perhaps you are here because it’s a habit (a good one, I might add). It’s something you’ve always done and will continue to do. Maybe you are hoping for some insight that will help you through the coming week. It could be that you are here because you are in need of prayer and healing and wholeness. I would imagine that some of us are here to help, whether you are a deacon or you want to pray for others or want to provide a warm welcome for our visitors and members. Maybe some of you are here today because you want to be part of an intergenerational community. Others might be here because they are committed to following Jesus and bringing about God’s realm here and now and still unfolding.
In 2020 and 2021, our Strategic Planning Team came up with this purpose for our plan:
Plymouth’s purpose for the next three to five years is to embody beloved community with God, each other, and our neighbors. We will enhance our communications and deepen engagement within the church. We will be a visible force for social, racial, and environmental justice. This focus will help Plymouth’s already vibrant community look to the future and grow in numbers and in spirit.
“Embody Beloved Community.” Those are words that are rich with meaning. We embody it, not just with our minds or prayers or ideas. We enflesh the concept with our bodies and our selves. So, what does Beloved Community mean?
The term was coined about 125 years ago by Josiah Royce, an American philosopher who wrote, “My life means nothing, either theoretically or practically, unless I am a member of a community.” Royce observed that, besides the actual communities we experience on a daily basis, there was also an ideal “beloved community” made up of all those who would be dedicated fully to the cause of loyalty, truth, and reality itself. Royce founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a movement that was later joined by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. [from rejoicingspirits.org]
The kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed — where the first shall be last and the last shall be first, where we create new community based on following God and not Caesar or family or tribe or clan, where the poor are blessed and those who mourn are comforted — that is at the heart of Beloved Community. We should never forget that Dr. King was a theologian and a preacher as well as the leader of the Civil Rights struggle. Part of his prophetic word involves creating Beloved Community that is grounded in the idea of reconciliation.
I love big ideas like Beloved Community. But they need to be brought down to earth to be useful. Where does the rubber meet the road? Where do lofty concepts get put into the practice of everyday life? That is where things get interesting, because the interaction of human beings in community, especially when we attempt to form Beloved Community, encounter stress, difference of opinion, self-interest, tribalism (which may take the form of a generation or a particular perspective).
We can tell from Paul’s writing that the church in Corinth was struggling to keep Beloved Community cohesive. We hear from Chloe’s people that the unity of the Christian community was at risk. Some who were baptized were devoted to the person who baptized them (Cephas/Peter or Apollos or Paul himself), rather than to Christ. Even in the earliest generations as the church emerged from Judaism, there was dissention and disagreement, and Paul says they must be drawn back to the same mind and purpose.
That is a tall order for any church, because we human beings comprise the church, not saints who have reached the pinnacle of human perfection. Scripture says we’re a little lower than angels, but it fails define how much lower. It’s more like a group of people who start out with fine intentions who get a little squirrely along the way, just like Peter and Paul and Apollos. None of us is a Christ figure, but we are trying in the company of one another to live in the most Christlike ways we can. Does that mean we get it right? Sometimes. Often not. Do we put our personal comfort before our faith? I suspect we do. Do we let our egos get in the way of community? Yep. Do we consider our own self-interest before the interest of our sister and brother members? I think so. Do we let our fear of offending or hurting some keep us from speaking the truth in love? Yes, we do. I know that in every instance, I fall short, and I’m imagining that if you look honestly at your interactions with the humans who comprise this congregation, you might, too.
Here is some good news: None of us is called to be perfect. There is no perfect Beloved Community, rather a collection of people doing their best, challenging themselves to live differently, helping others in ways the culture at large won’t, caring for the people who form this community and for God’s world as a whole. I see so many of you providing concrete acts of caring, working for justice, doing behind-the-scenes work that make Beloved Community a possibility that we strive for. Well done. God bless you.
- - - - - -
Together, we have come through a horrific experience of pandemic and dramatic isolation. It has hurt us as individuals who grieve a world that is lost, and as we evolve as a community that has and will continue to be forced into living together differently.
I could never really relate to the Babylonian captivity of Judeans in the sixth century BC until living through the exile of the Covid pandemic. We couldn’t see each other in person, we couldn’t hug, we couldn’t eat together, we couldn’t sing together, we couldn’t work together. We had effectively been exiled from one another. And like the destruction of the Temple, we were deprived of worship in this place, our spiritual home.
It is hard to come out of the fear, the exhaustion, the grief, and the trauma of the pandemic. Together, we have been through a lot. Hear what Isaiah had to say to the exiles, long before their release: “There will be no gloom for those who were in anguish….The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light and on those who lived in a land of deep darkness, upon them the light has shined.” That is a beautiful vision of the future, but it doesn’t take into account that the exiles had to go through a liminal space, a threshold between what was and what is yet to become. And like a rough landing at DIA, there is always some turbulence in the threshold space between where we are and where we will land.
We are in such a threshold time, my beloved friends. We see glimmers of what is up ahead, but we still feel the weight of what we have come through. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge what we have come through together, and let us ask God to be our seatbelt in times of turbulence. <pause>
How have you been able to connect with your Beloved Community at Plymouth over the past three years? I know that some of our folks are dedicated worshippers in our virtual balcony! Others have opted out of worship, and some have found other communities in which to practice their faith. And we have had some dear ones who have died or moved away. At the same time, a lot of new folks are finding a spiritual home at Plymouth. We are embodying church in very different ways that we did only a few years ago.
And there are more changes on the way in our congregation. In the coming months we are going to have a big shift in our pastoral staff. JT will be finishing up his interim work on February 28 after serving with us for 16 months. I hear appreciation from you about JT’s preaching and his way of being with you, for his work on helping to get our Ministry Match program set up. And I can tell you that his ministry here has meant a lot to me and to members of the staff who have come to love him as a colleague and a friend. Also on February 28, we will be saying farewell and happy retirement to Jane Anne Ferguson who has been our associate minister for the past seven years (and several months as sabbatical interim before that). Jane Anne’s wonderful voice in the pulpit and in Christian Formation will be dearly missed. It is really important for the congregation to celebrate the ministry of these two servants of God who have worked in our midst so effectively, and that will happen in February, so stay tuned. An important part of threshold time is saying goodbye well.
And next Sunday you will hear a new voice from the pulpit! Marta Fioriti is the candidate our Search Committee is putting forward to become our settled associate minister. I’m excited to have you meet her next weekend! I invite you to keep Marta in prayers for this coming weekend. And important part of threshold time is saying hello well.
This big, simultaneous pastoral transition is going to be difficult for many of us. It’s going to be a challenging time for our staff and for me, too. We’re likely to hold the grief of saying goodbye to JT and Jane Anne simultaneously with the excitement of welcoming Marta. It is perfectly okay to feel a mix of emotions. That’s also in the nature of threshold times.
And it’s really important that we remember the message of Chloe’s community: this isn’t JT’s church or Jane Anne’s church or Hal’s church or Marta’s church. It has always been and will continue to be the church of Jesus Christ.
This threshold also presents all of us with the opportunity to hone our Beloved Community skills, sharing with one another in all the ways we can, being open, available, and vulnerable to all those we can, to practice self-giving love with one another, to be generous in spirit both with ourselves and with one another.
Beloved Community isn’t easy. It isn’t automatic. It has very little in common with consumer culture fixed on “me” and “mine.” It takes practice. I’m going to leave you this morning with a quote from Rumi, the Sufi mystic of the 13th century. I think it relates well to the ways we work together to embody Beloved Community. He said, “To find the Beloved, you must become the Beloved.”
May it be so. Amen.
© 2023 Hal Chorpenning, all rights reserved. Please contact email@example.com for permission to reprint, which will typically be granted for non-profit uses.
“We Are Plymouth!”
October 2, 2022
Plymouth Congregational Church
Fort Collins, CO
We are Plymouth! Today we begin our stewardship campaign. Most of you know exactly what that means. A few of us ask the rest of us to give the time and the resources it takes to run this place for the next year. Like most congregations, we set aside a time each year to talk about Stewardship. It begins today and goes on for the next few weeks. Each of your ministers and some of your lay leaders will be sharing their faith and their understanding of this important topic.
Now, some folks think that means talking about money and that makes some people uncomfortable — I know that. I understand that. It made me uncomfortable in the past, or I said it did, even though Jesus talked about money in the same breath and with the same intensity that he talked about love and right relationships and being reborn. In fact, unlike most of us, who have this human tendency to be hypocritical and keep our lives in hermetically sealed compartments, with money here, and relationship here, and politics over there, hoping that the neighbors won’t take notice of our inconsistent behavior, Jesus didn’t seem to be able to do that.
One of the reasons I believe that Jesus was somehow divine was that he was no hypocrite and that for me, being saved or finding salvation has a great deal to do with becoming less of a hypocrite in my own life. I talk a much better game than the one I am able to play most of the time, but then Jesus already knows that. Jesus said it plain: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).
I remember an encounter many years ago with an individual who had nothing good to say about the church and church people. He touched most of the normal complaints including reminding me that all ‘they did was talk about money.” I listened and kept on listening, remembering the wisdom of one of my mentors who tried to teach me that you rarely learn much from those with whom you agree.
Sadly, most of what he had to say, was spot on, even though most of his negative attitudes came from experiences that I never had. After a long time of listening to his complaints, he ended his excuse making with one final jab. He said to me, “I just can’t stand going to church because it’s so full of hypocrites.”
At that point I could take it no longer and I began to laugh and that stopped him for a minute, and I said to him, “But isn’t that the point? That’s who we are. That’s what church is, people in recovery.” And then I tried to explain that church is people seeking to catch a glimpse of what it means to love and to care and to be in mission. We are Plymouth, not perfect, not without flaws or even some contradictions, but people on a journey toward the love of Jesus in community with one another. We are Plymouth!
Every year at this time, a few of us take on the job of asking, a job that most people want no part of, but a few of us know it has to be done and so a few of us got together and choose a theme and wrote a few good letters and designed a brochure and a pledge card to invite the rest of us to do what most of us know needs to be done. We are Plymouth.
That letter and that brochure and that pledge card will arrive at your house later this week. We are Plymouth!
Let me invite those of you who receive that packet to take a good look and a long read. A few of us worked hard for the last month or so and since we are Plymouth, I am confident that most of us will respond and most of us will understand what we need to do. Since we are Plymouth, we will do our best to help by making a gift that is meaningful to us, that includes our time and our resources and that reflects a commitment to show up and help out, by including with our pledge, our positive energy and our prayers.
We are Plymouth and because we are Plymouth, we remember that Jesus said once that the only thing we would ever really have in this life is what we were willing to give away. That he said what we have belongs to God. That he said that the hairs on our heads are numbered—well, maybe he didn’t mean that literally for some of us, but that we are all one and mystically united with a divine energy that is beyond all we know or understand, but within the essence of all that is, and that essence is about living by giving. And that includes our time and our resources and our spiritual energy and those beautiful things that are at the very center of our essential selves. We are Plymouth.
We are Plymouth and so we know that how we share will help this place grow and nurture the next generation and friends we have not met yet and new members and youth and children and ministers and leaders and mission in the community and around the world that will help keep this place strong and vital for a new generation.
Now, that is the first part of what I want to say this morning and now I am going veer off in another direction and think out loud in your presence about what I believe it means to say that we are Plymouth.
Budgets and finances are a necessary part of a church’s life. After all, we are an organization. But what makes a church a church, what makes a community, a community of Christ? Let me suggest a few things and invite you to think of a few more.
What is a church? Is it one hour a week when we think religious thoughts? Is it a chance to spend some quiet time or some social time? Is it the building where we meet? Is it an old program hardwired into our psyches as some sort of habit neither good nor bad but a routine like tooth brushing or flossing? I did it as a kid, so I guess I better keep on doing it?
Here's what I think. The essence of Church is living out the call of Jesus. We are people answering a call sometimes soft, sometimes distant, some days mystical and not always understood, but real enough to make us want to get together to live together for the sake of others and in the process discover some truth about our own lives. It is a quest for deeper meaning and a truth that offers bread for this scary journey.
It's not about guilt, although it might start there. It’s not about duty, because duty wears out over time, its not about what mom wanted me to do or what grandpa always did, although there’s nothing wrong with honoring those people who helped make us who we are. In my mind it comes down to a conscious decision about who I want to be and how I intend to act. And given all that is happening in this world and in this nation politically and I’m going to share my thoughts about that in a couple of weeks, given all that, acting together in love and in service as the followers of Jesus has never been more important. It’s about standing up for transformative justice and reproductive freedom. It’s about finding a way together to resist racism and homophobia and the sort of corrosive politics of hate that threatens to destroy this nation.
Many years ago, I heard someone ask a question that has been at the center of my heart ever since. She said: “If you were accused of being a follower of Jesus, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Saying that “We Are Plymouth” and acting as if we believe that, proves the point.
Look at today. Dozens of us are doing a Crop Walk this afternoon so that thousands around the world will have food and a new opportunity for the dignity that all of God’s children need. We are part of a world family. We are Plymouth!
Today we received a special offering for our United Church of Christ. Neighbors in Need is an effort by our faith family to end injustice in this world. This year the offering is dedicated to advocacy for fair wages and decent working conditions for all of God’s children. We take this offering because we are Plymouth.
Today we break the bread of communion and share the cup. That is not an isolated event. Today we call World Communion Sunday, because what we are doing here is not just about us, it is about our connection and our participation and our invitation to see ourselves as members of one another and of a world household of faith that seeks to remember the Jesus who called us to love one another and this good earth. We are Plymouth!
There is one story about Jesus that occurs in all four gospels. In fact, it appears six times in total. I have often thought that the people who followed Jesus first must have realized how important these stories were. Do you know which stories I’m talking about? I took one of them as my text for today. They are all a bit different, but they all have one thing in common. They are miracles of multiplication. They tell a single story and the story they tell is our story.
Where Jesus is, there is always enough. Where the Holy Spirit is active, ordinary things get multiplied in miraculous ways. The hungry are fed. The lonely are welcomed. The thirsty find refreshment. The suffering find support and justice. That is our story. That is our call, because we are Plymouth! Thanks be to God! Amen.
Ephesians 4 (selected verses)
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning,
Plymouth Congregational UCC
Fort Collins, Colorado
The letter to the church in Ephesus is likely not to have been written by Paul himself, but by one of his followers who is taking care to reinforce some of what Paul was trying to inculcate into the new gatherings of people he called the ekklesia, which literally means “called out,” and is often translated as “church.” Paul is determined that the people whom God has called out to become the church are to be markedly different than the Gentile culture at large and also different than those who had been called together in Judaism. The rules and the roles have been changed. “You are no longer to walk as the Gentiles,” we read in the letter.
This is an interesting cultural shift, reinforcing that Christian community is to be in the world, but not of the world. There are going to be different standards and expectations of behavior of the members of this community, and at its core, the expectations center around love for one another. The writer of this letter calls out “humility, gentleness, magnanimity, bearing with one another in love” in order to keep the unity of those gathered. We are to shed our old way of being and develop a new community. “Let each one of you speak the truth to your neighbor, because we are one another’s corporal members,” that is, we are part of a single body, which is the body of Christ, the Anointed.
Over the next month or two, I’m going to be talking about the first concept mentioned in our new strategic plan: becoming Beloved Community. That may be a new term for you, and for others it will rings some bells as a concept used by MLK in the struggle for racial justice. To be sure, justice is a part of it. And there is much more. The early 20th century American philosopher, Josiah Royce, coined the term “Beloved Community,” and describes its Pauline roots this way: “The Apostle [Paul] has discovered a special instance of one of the most significant of all moral and religious truths, the truth that a community, when unified by an active indwelling purpose, is an entity more concrete and, in fact, less mysterious than is any individual man, and that such a community can love and be loved as a husband and wife love; or a father and mother love.” Beloved Community has a macro sense, a societal sense, but it also has the sense of being most readily at play in a community of faith.
That Beloved Community is one of the first aims of our strategic plan, and it is the kind of community Paul was aiming for in the first century. And like the Kingdom of God itself, Beloved Community is elusive…we only catch fleeting glimpses of it being manifested, but those brief appearances are important, because without them, we have no vision of the future God is calling us toward. And so, too, it embodies the second piece of our mission statement of inviting, transforming, and sending. We not only need transformation, we will be transformed whether we like it or not. The question is what is the result of our metamorphosis? Will we move to become more Christlike or will we conform more to the culture around us? What does transformation mean for you, relative to becoming Beloved Community here at Plymouth?
The epistle-writer describes our growth this way: “So that we might no longer be infants, wave-tossed and carried about by every wind of teaching, by men’s sleight of hand, by villainy attendant upon error’s wiliness, but rather, speaking the truth in love we may in all things grow into him who is the head,” namely Christ. And we all have growing still to do.
You probably have heard that phrase before: “speaking the truth in love.” And like most parts of trying to lead a life of faith, it is not an easy task. Most of us would rather not speak an uncomfortable or an inconvenient truth in a loving way, if at all. And it certainly is not the norm in American political discourse.
In my family growing up, there were uncomfortable or inconvenient truths we never mentioned at least to my parents. It was hard to move to a new place so often…I attended four high schools in four years. Speaking the truth in love might have been having a sit-down with my parents and letting them know how difficult it was, but instead of doing that, I just stuffed it and learned to adapt again and again. We learned in my family not to rock the boat, to withhold truths that were too difficult to enunciate or to hear.
How was it for you growing up? Was direct, loving communication typical in your family, or was it more like mine…or somewhere in between? If you have kids, how did or are you raising them in terms of encouraging them to speak the truth in love? How is it for you and your spouse or partner or dearest friend? Are you able to speak the truth in love? Sometimes, it’s easier to avoid…but that poses problems in the long run.
Direct, loving communication is difficult, but it is healthy — in relationships, in families, and in organizations, and it’s a hallmark of Beloved Community. Matthew’s gospel advises us what to do when we have been slighted: “go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. You may have found this to be true in your closest relationships and in your family, but it is also true in organizations and especially in churches. And we have some growing to do in this area at Plymouth.
This week, I shared some difficult personal news in a letter to our members. I’ve been treated twice for prostate cancer, and early this spring, my PSA levels began to rise, signaling a biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer. It’s scary and daunting for me and my family. And it isn’t easy for me to share that news with you. I’m kind of a private person and to be honest, I’d rather just keep it to myself as I learn more about the progress of the disease and what treatment options are available. Part of the reason I am being open and transparent with you is to demonstrate what it looks like to use open, direct communication: speaking the truth in love. And I trust that you will receive this message in the same spirit in which it is offered, and I ask that you, as Beloved Community, remember me in your prayers.
The other important piece of community that we read about in this epistle is saying that anger is okay, but rather that we shouldn’t let it fester. It’s normal for couples, families, people in congregations to disagree, and that’s okay, even when it results in someone getting angry. The trick is not to let anger stew within you and turn into bitterness. That’s good advice in relationships as well as in churches. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in couples’ counseling, but don’t these words ring true: “Let all bitterness and animosity…be removed from you.…Become helpfully kind to one another, inwardly compassionate, forgiving among yourselves.” It can be hard to “practice the pause” and not be reactive when someone says something that ticks you off, but to wait for even a few seconds and say to yourself, “Oh…I wonder if he is having a hard day,” or “Yep, that snippy response probably came from a place of hurt, rather than from animosity.” Or maybe realizing it’s how you’ve heard something with your own background issues at play: Maybe taking a breath and realizing, “That is really pushing my buttons….maybe I’m getting triggered by something that has nothing to do with her or the issue at hand.” Pausing and reflecting helps us to be more compassionate with one another…and to become more Christlike.
What happens if we avoid open, direct conversations, even those that are a little bit scary? It means that we are not able to be fully authentic with ourselves or with others, and it’s impossible to grow into Beloved Community without being authentic. We need to be a little bit brave to engage in Courageous Conversations. So far as I know, nobody has died from having a Courageous Conversation in church…at least since the wars of religion following the Reformation in the 16th century.
Nobody ever said that Christianity or Beloved Community was easy…it’s not. But there is something I know to be true: it can be and often is a source of awareness, connection, meaning-making, and joy. Even in the midst of a pandemic, even in light of institutional racism, even in the wake of insurrection, it is possible for us to find a sense of joy in Beloved Community, which is another way of incarnating the kingdom of God.
May you be challenged, goaded, guided, and graced by the Spirit as we grow together.
© 2021 Hal Chorpenning, all rights reserved. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to reprint, which will typically be granted for non-profit uses.
1 Corinthians 1.1-10
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning,
Plymouth Congregational UCC,
Fort Collins, Colorado
My friends, this is a hard time for our nation. We live in an era when our beliefs have been shaken…that we do hold one another accountable for just and moral actions…that we do judge one another by the content of our character…that our nation’s leaders do act from a sense of integrity…that our nation itself does stand together…that we will come together as one people to tackle seemingly intractable challenges like global warming.
That is one of the reasons I give thanks to God always for you, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. Because when I read and hear and see the disgrace of impeachment, I remember that you are faithful, that God is faithful, and that you have gifts and graces have been strewn upon you in a truly extravagant manner…that you strive to be the Beloved Community. And that like a virus, Beloved Community is something you can catch if you’re not careful.
It’s a virus that lives not on the unwashed hands, but rather dwells in the swelling hearts of people like you. It’s not a virus you can catch with a handshake, but by opening your heart and your mind to something new. It’s not a virus that is transmitted by casual contact with other people, but rather is spread wherever love, beauty, awe, and grace are lived out. It is not a virus limited to one demographic sector: it spreads among Gen X and Boomers and Gen Y and the Greatest Generation whenever we break down walls and build bridges instead. It’s not a virus that is contained within any religious or ethnic group or gender: it is spread by reaching beyond oneself and beyond self-interest and radical individualism and beyond nationalism or chauvinism or racism.
None of us is fully inoculated against this virus that Dr. King called the Beloved Community, using the phrase of philosopher Josiah Royce. And I hate to tell you, but you have been exposed to that virus, which is sometimes a little hard to catch, and even harder to get rid of. You see, Jesus had the virus, and every time you come to the communion table, every time you are the recipient of God’s grace, when you received the gift of baptism as a new person, when you were given the gift of life itself – then my friends, you were exposed to the virus. And like any virus, the more you are exposed, the greater the chances that you will contract it and manifest the Beloved Community.
I am grateful for you, because you are not only living with that virus, you are a carrier, and I know that some of you are spreading that virus every time you lend a listening ear, act for justice, do a simple kindness, share something of yourself.
Beloved Community is the kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed. Beloved Community is where creation’s wealth is preserved and shared; where racism, bigotry, and prejudice are eradicated; where fear and intimidation are replaced by faith and love; where nations use nonviolent means to resolve their conflicts; where we see and live into the unity of humankind and creation. Beloved Community is grounded in nonviolence on a personal level, and group level, and on a societal level. In 1957, Dr. King wrote, “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation.” Those of us who remember the fall of Apartheid in South Africa and the profound witness and work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu know that truth and reconciliation are the only viable alternatives to falsity and further violence.
When you read about or watch the impeachment hearings this week, I would ask you to remember something: that you have been exposed to a virus. Carrying that virus determines how you spend your money, how you think and feel, how you spend your weekends, how you vote, how you raise your children and treat your elders, how you exist as a gifted soul in God’s world. I give thanks for you. And as you watch the rancorous debate, and as you hear truths and falsehoods unfold, remember that you have been exposed to a virus that has changed you into someone who is not susceptible to the cancer of hatred. Carrying that virus means that you will not hate anyone and that you will work for reconciliation.
In an article in The Christian Century in 1966, Dr. King wrote, “I do not think of political power as an end. Neither do I think of economic power as an end. They are ingredients in the objective that we seek in life. And I think that end of that objective is a truly brotherly society, the creation of the beloved community.”
The kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed and the Beloved Community that Dr. King espoused are not fully realized…I don’t have to tell you that, you see the evidence every day. But a virus is not visible to the naked eye. It is within us and among us. It is passed to others by love and reconciliation. I give thanks for you, Plymouth, because I have witnessed your love and your faith, and you give me hope for the Beloved Community. Keep on keeping on!
I leave you with a short visual meditation on the March on Washington in 1963…may it spread the virus.
© 2020 Hal Chorpenning, all rights reserved. Please contact email@example.com for permission to reprint, which will typically be granted for non-profit uses.
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning has been Plymouth's senior minister since 2002. Before that, he was associate conference minister with the Connecticut Conference of the UCC. A grant from the Lilly Endowment enabled him to study Celtic Christianity in the UK and Ireland. Prior to ordained ministry, Hal had a business in corporate communications. Read more about Hal.