We are so grateful for the committed engagement made by our congregation, as we have been discussing our identity, mission, and vision for our future. Our conversations have revealed a considerable amount of information we’ve shared about ourselves. Moreover, the conversations themselves seemed to be intrinsically valuable, as many of you said you were grateful for the process and hoped our conversations would continue. We seem to be at an exciting time in our church’s history.
It is difficult to summarize everything said in the brief space of a newsletter. But the committee that oversaw the process, and Ben, will be communicating more to you in the coming weeks as summer unfolds. It is important that we not rush ahead quickly, as everyone should have the time needed to sit with proposed ideas, and if the Rev. Michael Winters joins us, he will naturally need some time to contribute his input. Nonetheless, this brief summary is possible.
We heard that as a church, we desire:
Reviving our Worship with greater attention to art, music, and creativity.
Creating authentic Community in which people are known, loved, served, and celebrated.
Spiritual Growth wherein we discover spiritual pathways as individuals and in groups; we learn to follow the way of Jesus; we give and receive pastoral care, including intercessory and healing prayer; and we pass on the faith generation to generation. This could include programs for small groups, discipleship classes, and a prayer ministry team.
Mission that emphasizes community engagement around, e.g., forums on LGBTQ+ and anti-racism and other justice concerns; creation care; Healing Conversations (peacebuilding among persons in conflict); community dinners; helping at the Billings Forge Apartment dinners; neighborhood clean-ups; working with the poor and marginalized; and more.
Justice through efforts like those above, and with our anti-racism team; GHIAA; advocacy; activism; and continued dialogue and learning through workshops, book groups, etc.
Educating and nurturing our children and youth through strong programs, service and mission opportunities, and more.
We heard that we should pursue exploration of our interests through the means of small
groups who organize themselves around issues of concern and excitement related to the above (e.g., worship, spiritual growth, anti-racism, creation care, peace and reconciliation, children’s and youth ministry). And that those groups would report their explorations and ideas back to the church in good time—although no dates were determined.
We heard that as a church we remain committed to Jesus-centered inclusivity and diversity,
strong children’s and youth programs, and working for peace and justice.
This schematic suggests how the components can be conceptualized in relationship to one
Please also see the bullet points of the input presented by the church in our conversation on
Grace and peace,
Draft statement developed by our Racial Justice Activation Team
Below is the vision statement written by our Racial Justice Activation Team, to capture what we mean when we say that we are anti-racist.
Riverfront Family Church is fully committed to the liberation of each person from the bonds of oppression and injustice, acknowledging that we too need to be liberated. This is our sacred work. We believe in a God who loves us all, without exception, and that God’s love is both just and merciful.
We believe that it is our responsibility to work to heal the wounds caused when the Christian church has been used as a weapon of intersectional harm and exploitation. This is our spiritual responsibility.
We actively seek to expose and dismantle our complicity with beliefs and systems--including white supremacy--that perpetuate injustice and oppression.
We reject the violence and spiritual falsehood of relationships based on coercion or hierarchy. We embrace “power-with” relationships, elevate the value of communal responsibility over the value of individualism, and seek the ongoing creation of cooperative egalitarian community. This is the lived expression of our beliefs.
We value deep listening, humility, joy, relational power, transformation, restoration, and equity.
We commit to following pro-Black BIPOC civil rights leaders & community leaders of all genders, sexualities, faith traditions, and generations--past, present, and future--in solidarity and with deep respect. We commit to supporting justice work as it takes shape in our congregation and beyond.
We believe justice and liberation of all of us is necessary for real love, joyful relationship, and the wholeness that the Creator intended for all of creation.