The last few months have felt like a whirlwind. Between pregnancy, planning a move (which will be complete by Jan. 1!), and trying to remain active in the community, life has passed quickly. It has been a time of absolute joy, utter mental chaos, and devastating heartbreak. The following is only a very small snapshot of what has been going on. Feel free to ask for more info!
At the beginning of November we attempted the first “Who Are the Mennonites” discussion. We had exactly one person show up right at the point that we were beginning to turn off lights and go home. He noted his surprise that we had not drawn crowds of thousands (neither Pastor Sam nor I found this quite as surprising). It turned into a good conversation, making connections across traditions.
And, of course, the congregation has continued to work on how we respond to the racism in our community that has been highlighted again with the killings of Michael Brown and Vonderrit Myers. During our regular joint worship service with Bethesda Mennonite—an entirely African-American congregation—we (thanks to the City on a Hill Committee who planned it) had conversations about race. We had a joint choir (something that has become a beloved tradition) and instead of a sermon, four of us—two from each church—shared our own experiences with race and racism. I was honored to get to be one of the four, listening to the stories of others and sharing how my experience has been one of privilege and blindness. We followed the service with a group activity in Sunday School and a potluck where we continued the conversations from the service in small groups. It was a great time of deeper connection with our brothers and sisters.
On the night of the Grand Jury announcement, I was at the building of a sister congregation that was serving as safe space. I stood on the sidewalk inviting marching protesters in for warm beverages, snacks, bathrooms, and heat. Several weeks before I was able to act as a mediator for a community meeting in Ferguson proper that was organized by an SLMF member (she and her team have been holding regular discussion groups for several months now).
“The New Jim Crow” book study had a great first week, but we quickly discovered this was not a good time of year for gathering for yet another thing. Hoping to try again this Spring.
In the midst, we celebrated a successful end to the first term of Sunday School. My class ended with talk of Passover and experiencing a very small form of some of the symbolic elements of the Passover meal.
In personal news, I’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and have had a complete overhaul in diet the last two-and-a-half weeks. I sometimes feel like my life is lived between tracking every meal and snack I eat (three of each!) and the beeping of the timer telling me it is time to check my blood sugar. In fact, while I was writing that last sentence, the timer alerted me that I finished lunch an hour ago. But I’m now about two months away from little man’s guess date, and things are looking good. Allyn and I are excited to be moving into a two-bedroom apartment that will give Mops a room of his own. Plus, we will live only a few minutes away from the church, so will be present in the area where I am serving.
I am continuing to fundraise. At this point, dollars are in the bank to pay me for the next couple of months. I would love to tell you more about what I am doing and why you should help! If you would like to make a year-end contribution, you can do so with a check payable to St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship with my name in the memo line. The church address is 3752 Giles Ave.; St. Louis, MO 63116. All gifts are tax deductible. If you would prefer to give online, talk to me about options!