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Good Timing!

Today the Supreme Court quietly brought our country one step closer to marriage equality. The court denied to review pending appeals to rulings in favor of same-sex marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. This is a big moment for equality. It means that loving couples in those states can get married immediately, and I paves the way for even more progress. This truly is good news!

It is good timing, coming on the heels of the Pride Parade (see link below to read Nicole Melki’s blog on what that meant to her), arriving the day before the birthday of Desmond Tutu, a passionate Christian bishop with a heart for diversity and equal rights for all, and anticipating the readers’ theatre performances this weekend of The Laramie Project (at Northaven on the 10th and East Dallas Christian on the 11th).

Perhaps this all means that the day is just around the corner for marriage equality in all states. I am happy to be alive and doing ministry in a place that celebrates today.

http://www.rmnblog.org/2014/09/the-revelation-of-joy-in-sorrow.html

 

Come Sunday

“Come Sunday,” September 21st, the Charles Winslow jazz ensemble, in tandem with Dr. John Thornburg – preacher of the day – will be gracing these doors at 10:50 AM for a rousing worship service! Featured worship leader and singer Myrna Beckett-Burnside will speak to us with “Come Sunday, and she and the choir will lead us in “Jesus is on the Main Line!”  Of course, you will be invited to sing and march, if you like, with “When the Saints!”  Carve a little of your day out for a memorable experience at the corner of Junius and Haskell! You’ll be glad you did!

A Place for All?

On this day of remembrance,I pause to ask if there is such a thing as a place for all at one table.  It would seem so, at least on first glance. On any week day, and especially on Sundays, it would seem that at Grace there IS a place for all! But how can that be? What about the differences? We have infants to 104; a panoply of cultures and economic stratas; theological and political differences; gays and straights. How could there possibly be a place for all? Scripturally, it is spot on, but is it realistic? Probably not, but here we are, and I continue to be amazed and appreciative.

It’s September and we are looking forward to a weekend – the 20th and 21st – when we celebrate our history by being a part of the Munger Place Historic Tour, our journey by having spot #34 in the Alan Ross Gay Pride Parade, and our love of music by hosting the Bob Nelson Jazz Worship Service!

I cannot explain it, but I can enjoy and encourage it! Please join us – any time.  #aplaceforallisbiblical

Judith

Pastor’s Word: Celebrate!

Judith_blogDear Church Family,

This Sunday we celebrate! As always, we celebrate because every Sunday is a resurrection Sunday. This Sunday, we also celebrate because Pastor Mary, as she is affectionately known around Grace, has passed her interview with the Board of Preparations and Qualifications. Glory
Be! Alleluia! I know you will want to congratulate Mary on her fine work in answering her call.

Please take advantage of the many opportunities to be with one another, to reflect, and to take action in one or more of our many Lenten offerings sent to you early this week. It is not too late to sign up. We are just beginning!

Remember our Lenten challenge and look for the sign-up sheet on your way into the sanctuary:

During Lent, skip one meal per week; set aside the money you would have spent on that meal.

During that mealtime, practice a spiritual discipline – reading a scripture, praying, reflecting.

On Easter Sunday, bring the money you saved on those six meals to the church. We will combine all monies and give them to our Bishop’s Zip Code Connection, working to empower those in extreme asset-poverty areas.

Let us take the time to breathe deeply, reflect, and look at one another!

Grace and Peace,
Judith

Pastor’s Word: Diversity

Judith_blogDear Church Family,

Last night at the Bridge Bistro, Bill McElvaney and Zan Holmes said that, as a city, Dallas should form a coalition, especially the churches, to celebrate our diversity. I embrace that and am so excited that we do that at Grace every single day. We celebrate our diversity and find ways to bring one another along on the journey with educational as well as inspirational opportunities.
In the month of September, these opportunities abound! As we anticipate our second Sunday of celebration, we are so excited to have Rev. Dr. Bill Bryan as our guest preacher this Sunday! Bill believes in Grace and has seen its potential and plumbed its potential since before he arrived as its pastor more than 30 years ago!

As an affirmation of that diversity, a world map will be dedicated this Sunday, and each person will have an opportunity in the coming weeks to place a pin in the place where she/he was born!

On Monday night, the ecumenical Bible study with East Dallas Christian begins at the Bonhoeffer House. There is still time to sign up! This is an 8-week study and gives you the privilege of being at the Bonhoeffer and participating in meaningful study and conversation. A sign-up sheet will be available on Sunday. (Just bring yourself and a Bible on this first evening at 6:30pm)

Celebrating our 110th anniversary right along with all of us are two sets of very proud grandparents: Michael and Renee Manes whose first grandchild Downing was born yesterday, and Billie and Wayne Watts whose second grandchild Sawyer was born yesterday! These two little boys have everything going for them! Congratulations!

As excited as I am to be celebrating daily all during the month of September, I do want to thank personally Joanne Callahan for her amazing work and tenacity in July and August. Joanne worked tirelessly to bring us Iron-Jawed Angels , introduce us to the Motts via Alice Montgomery and Chris Hauge, and bring to us two professors from SMU on two separate occasions – Drs. Ted Campbell and Christa deLuzio, experts on Methodist history and women’s history. Thank you, Joanne.

As always, I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday.

Grace and Peace,
Judith Reedy

Pastor’s Word: Back to School

JudithDear Church Family,

We are back to school in a big way! This Sunday, we will bless the children’s backpacks – donated by Oak Cliff UMC, supplied by you, and packed by our Missions Committee! On Monday, our Open Door Pre-School starts with its extended hours. Many of you will have your first day of class one day this next week in an elementary school, middle school, high school, college, university, or graduate school. September is an exciting time!

At Grace, we are back to school in other ways as well. We are offering a Monday night ecumenical Bible study in tandem with East Dallas Christian Church. We will meet at the Bonhoeffer House next door to the church parking lot from 6:30-8 PM for eight Mondays. This is a great opportunity to study together with some of our neighbors and is only one of the back-to-school offerings Grace will have!

September, 2013, is an especially meaningful time for Grace, because we are turning 110! We are grateful for the five Sundays in September, and we are going to celebrate every one of them with events during the week as well as on Sundays. We will thank God together for those who had the vision of Grace Church and who struggled to pass on and preserve these fine facilities which embrace our missions and provide sanctuary to so many. You will not want to miss a Sunday in September!

As always, I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Plan to join us for cake after the service as we celebrate Edna Dishman’s 103rd birthday at Grace Gathering.

Grace and Peace,
Judith Reedy

Pastor’s Word: Better Angels

Judith_blogDear Church Family,

Currently I am reading The Better Angels of Our Nature. The title is taken from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Toward the end of the book, there is a chapter about the better angels of our nature: the psychological faculties that steer us away from violence. The author explores why the better angels of our nature often fail to steer us away from violence and why history had to wait so long to engage them fully.

On Monday night, a dozen of us – men and women – had the privilege of watching Iron-Jawed Angels together at The Corinthian Bed and Breakfast next to the church. It was painful and almost incomprehensible to see the violent efforts exhibited – less than 100 years ago – against women in the attempt to withhold from them the right to vote. Upon reflection on the true story portrayed in the movie, I see that the better angels of our nature have steered us a long way from violence. I am grateful for this and for the ongoing opportunities at Grace to make us think and challenge us to move toward those better angels!

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Grace and Peace,
Judith Reedy

Pastor’s Word: Many Thanks

Judith_blogDear Church Family,

When Lucretia and James Mott showed up at our worship service and potluck this past Sunday, I marveled! I was happy they were able to see that times have changed for women since 1848, at least at Grace. When Dr. Ted Campbell and Joanne Callahan joined the Motts to supply us with little known history, including the start of women’s rights from a Wesleyan – Methodist – chapel, we all applauded! Many thanks to those participants, to the education committee who sponsored the event, and to all those who brought food, prepared the Fellowship Hall, and cleaned the Fellowship Hall and Kitchen!

Yes, times have changed since 1848; times have changed since 1865; times have changed since 1920; times have changed just in the past few months. There are more changes needed in many directions and I pray that Grace will continue to be a part of that loving but persistent change.

Wednesday of next week, July 31st, is the last day of Project Transformation 2013 for our children and our volunteers. In Sunday services, at meals, and on the stairs going up to the library to get yet another book, there has been solid evidence that children get excited when they know someone is interested in, and yes, loves them! Thank you, Grace, for your embrace of Project Transformation.

Thank you for your investment in our children. Your communion rail offering this past Sunday for school backpack supplies brought a staggering $682!

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Grace and Peace,
Judith Reedy

Pastor’s Word: Only at Grace

Judith_blogDear Church Family,

Only at Grace could the pastor have to go to the emergency room right before worship and all would continue as ordered! I am grateful to so many – to Spencer for stepping right in and teaching Sunday School, to Mary McLaud for her assurance and medical care, to Les Chandler for stepping up, leading worship, and delivering the sermon, to Mary Miriti and Michael Manes for their part in worship, and to all of you for carrying right on and worshiping God!! To add to our regular worship, we were blessed with the presence of Frances McCleskey’s daughter Carla Hudson, the week before she and husband Rogert begin their new adventure of pastoring a Lutheran/Presbyterian Church with a Methodist minister – Wilbur Uniting!!

I went home with a very attractive gauze – NOT – and a follow-up appointment. Turns out I was born with a deviated septum, which was addressed yesterday, so all will be well, and I am anticipating hearing a great message from my good friend Katherine Lyle this Sunday.

Meanwhile, under Christina’s fine leadership, this week at VBS has been a real adventure, lots of joy! The UMW has provided delicious meals that have kept them coming back for seconds and thirds!

Yes, there is a lot going on this summer, but it all seems to dovetail and work well together, addressing all three goals for the year: to improve our surrounding community, increase the involvement of Grace constituents in the life of the community, and raise the awareness of more people that there IS a Grace! (shades of Bob Nelson)

Grace and Peace,
Judith Reedy

Pastor’s Word: The Body of Christ

Judith_blogDear Church Family,

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part…whether Jew or Greek, slave or free…” That affirmation rings louder this week! Two very significant things happened through the eyes of Grace this week, one in the Supreme Court and one in Fellowship Hall!

Wednesday was a bad day for the Flat Earth Society. DOMA was repealed because Justice Elena Kagan exposed its bigotry. At 10 AM EST Wednesday, Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion meant legally married couples – straight or gay – are to receive the same benefits from the Federal government. I invite you to read the Windsor opinion, and the hope and grace of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s perspective: “The Federal statute is invalid for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marrying them, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.” Each one of us is a part of the body of Christ.

Thursday night was a good night for Grace and the surrounding community. Under the fine coordination and planning of Jacquelyn Elbel-Sitler, Grace members took their places at their assigned stations in Grace’s new kitchen and turned out a tasty spaghetti dinner with bread sticks that kept us all coming back for more. It was just as Project Transformation directors had hoped – children’s families filled Fellowship Hall, and those in the kitchen came out into the Hall after cooking and sat and ate among all the families, placing themselves throughout the Hall. It was a fine gathering, concluding with Project Transformation children, led by our fabulous team of PT interns, dancing and singing for their parents and Grace friends. Families feasted on cookies prepared and brought by more Grace friends. Truly, each one of us is a part of the body of Christ.

We here at Grace continue to look for opportunities to celebrate our equality and God’s love for all. This week our spirits soar! I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as one of our candidates for the ordained ministry – our own Jonathan Grace – brings the message.

Grace and Peace,
Judith Reedy