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.

Join the Amplify Book Club as we begin reading “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson. If you are interested in participating in this opportunity, click here to purchase a copy of the book, and please reach out to Pastor Cade to express interest.

Reflection –  Rev Michelle Chappell

THIS IS DIFFICULT. . . This is hard. . . This is a struggle. These are words spoken on a weekly basis. As I listened to our guest preacher on Sunday, I squirmed and thought, “This is difficult.” Rev. Dayson’s sermon was biblically and theologically sound, and yet I found myself gut-punched and squirming. At times it was beautiful and stirring, but it also confronted and shattered my comfortable place. It was difficult for me to hear for myself, and it was hard knowing all the diverse views we have. Truthfully, I hurt for those whom I thought may be offended. I was uncomfortable for you more than myself. 

As I pondered throughout the day on Sunday, I realized that while he went where I would not have gone, Rev. Dayson did what black prophetic preaching sometimes does, which pushes us well beyond uncomfortable into an inward struggle. For me, it was in that difficult struggle on Sunday and on into Monday that I wrestled and sat with my personal feelings along with what I perceived, maybe the feelings of others, my flock. It was while I sat in that deep valley of pain that the difficult work of sitting in your place overcame my own personal struggle. And it was in that pain that loving care for you became even more rooted in who I am as a follower of Christ. I grew in faith on Sunday as I listened to the struggle of a young, black UMC preacher and felt a different difficult struggle of my flock. It did not feel “good.” But in the end, standing in the tension of that place is where we all grow in faith and in love for one another. And it is where we learn that being a Jesus follower isn’t always comfortable.

Yes, we grapple together with the evils of racism, poverty, discrimination, etc. and the many divisions that there are in our city and world. Please don’t assume that our Amplify ministry discussion/reading groups are for those of just one voice; it is to be a safe place for ALL voices. Dilworth, all of your voices are welcomed and will be received. I will make sure of it. For it is only when we can sit together in the struggle will we be a true family and example of Jesus Christ, which is a root of our calling.

Regardless of where we struggled on Sunday, we are a family rooted in the grace of Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and King. As your pastor, there has been no hesitancy in my voice that we are all loved children of God and that we are to love one another even in our differences. That will never change. This is the real hard work, sitting together in the differences --- loving one another when the battle is raging on the inside and the outside. But that is where Christ calls us to be the church and to be different than the world. Even when we disagree, our words should be in kindness and compassion. The truths of Christ and God’s faithfulness remain sure and steadfast, but it doesn’t mean that the work to be the bearers of that truth is easy. I call for all of us to sit together IN COMPASSION with one another in the vast struggles of today. As I promised at my ordination, I will continue to lead with firm Wesleyan values of holiness in life and spirit, which does lead to social justice.  Yes, it is difficult work. But it is the work we are called together. I pray that you will walk that road with me, and we grow together in faith.  

Pastor Michelle

Suggested Resources
Watch: Brookhill Matters

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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