Mission: to Amplify Compassion by amplifying marginalized voices in our community, including those marginalized by their race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or any others searching for equity. We will help challenge our congregation to amplify justice, mercy, and humility to create a more compassionate church.

Reflection – by Jennifer Appleby - Open hearts, Open minds, Open doors, and Open Ears

Dear Dilworth Church family, 

I miss you. I miss our connections. I miss seeing the people that I love. I miss your smiles and hugs on Sunday mornings before and after church. I miss in-person church.
I miss hearing the music that fills my heart and hearing the words of God that comfort my soul. I miss receiving communion. I miss baptisms and the funny things our kids say during the Children’s moment. I miss singing my favorite hymns blissfully off-tune. I miss the sun shining through the stained-glass windows. I miss walking down the front steps of the church after the service, feeling spiritually recharged. I miss stopping by and leaving a kiss on my mother’s place in the Columbarium. I miss luncheons and breaking bread together. I miss all of the reasons I have been a member of Dilworth for over 20 years. 
The events of the last year have been heartbreaking and devastating in so many ways. A global pandemic, a fiercely divisive political election, and racial injustice have caused an unprecedented amount of fear, hate, frustration, anger, loss, sadness, worry, disappointment, and anxiety. In my life, there has never been a time when I needed my church more. I feel lost, and my cup is far from running over. I thirst for spiritual connection. Open hearts, open minds, and open doors are literally engraved into the side of our church, but due to safety guidelines, our doors, for the most part, have not been open. The bigger question for me right now is, have our hearts and minds been open? Are we a church that welcomes and ministers to all God’s children and all points of view? Can we find common ground in our love for God and each other, despite our varying political and social views and all that is happening in the world? This topic was recently discussed during a small group discussion called Courageous Conversations, and I was encouraged by the honesty of staff and long-standing and new members of Dilworth. Open ears should perhaps be added to the Methodist motto because listening - really listening - is critical during this incredibly challenging time. I give Michelle and Cade credit for making time for these conversations to hear some of the challenges we are facing and to help lead us through it. But it is not their job alone. Dilworth is the people’s church. Not the liberal people’s church or the conservative people’s church. While, in my opinion, politics have no place in the pulpit, we are all still human, and all have our own strong voices and beliefs. But isn’t that the very thing that makes Dilworth special? We may not agree on some things, but we have always been able to count on our brothers and sisters in Christ and our shared belief in God’s unwavering love.

Our recent Visioning work called for us as a church to Amplify Compassion and Build Community by building stronger connections and understanding and nurturing our entire flock's spiritual needs and those in our community. Even though I played a role in helping create the vision based on what the church family shared with us, I personally needed that reminder. I also needed the reminder that I shouldn’t wait for the staff or others to bring me back. To have a re-energized and stronger connection with God and others. To openly and actively listen, but also raise my voice with my own challenges and concerns. It’s part of what will make our church even stronger when we can all be together again. I respect and love and am thankful for those who share my views but also to those who lovingly and without guilt open my eyes to see and better understand different views. Finding that balance is emotional and messy and hard but necessary work. While our doors may not be fully open for some time, I do pray that our church family will be open to that. Amen.

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Join A Tu Lado - a ministry opportunity through the Migrant Assistance Project in which houses of faith partner with an immigrant family and walk with them on their journey through the immigration process in the U.S. If you are interested in joining an A Tu Lado team at Dilworth UMC please reach out to Pastor Cade for more information.

Suggested Resources

R-Squared The General Commission on Religion and Race

Join the Amplify Book Club for our study on “Dear Church: A Love Letter From a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S.” by Lenny Duncan. Click Here to purchase a copy of the book, and please reach out to Pastor Cade to express interest in being part of this study.

Are you interested in sharing a reflection in the Amplify newsletter? If you feel called to share a story, testimony, or devotion related to diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation, please reach out to Pastor Cade. The Amplify Team is open to all members who feel passionate about shaping our conversation and working for justice in and through Dilworth UMC. Please contact Pastor Cade to become a part of this important ministry.
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