We Are Small, but Mighty.
I am writing to you today from a place of deep gratitude and appreciation for this congregation. Specifically, I am grateful for the openness of your hearts, minds, and church doors. Broadway is an incredibly unique place in its commitment to building connection across a diversity of beliefs. The world has a lot to learn from our small but mighty group.
A couple things have happened this week to remind me why Broadway is so necessary to the social and spiritual landscape of Kansas City.
1. A friend of mine serves a mid-size Presbyterian church that has become increasingly supportive of women's leadership and same sex marriage in recent years. A couple weeks ago a very small group of members decided they didn't like the progressive direction of the church and are determined to change it back. My friend, the female Associate Pastor, is under attack every day that she goes into work. She has received daily emails telling her she is unfit for ministry and needs to quit completely - because she is a woman. Thankfully, the rest of the staff and the Elders do not endorse this small group that is creating division within the congregation. My friend's job is secure, the Staff and Elders are working to remedy the conflict, but it is deeply painful for everyone involved.
I am thankful to serve Broadway in the full trust that when there are disagreements, our disagreements do not turn into personal attacks on each other. I am thankful that Broadway acknowledges the gifts, talents, and holiness of all people.
2. At the request of a colleague in Iowa, I went to the Greyhound station during the snowstorm Wednesday night. The youth minister from Country Club Christian Church and I brought dinner and a care package to a vulnerable transgender teenager who had recently aged out of the foster care system. The teen had a two hour layover in KC on their way to a transitional group home in California. By 11:30pm all was well, so we left the station. The following morning I learned that the teen's bus was cancelled around 1:30 am. The teen was sent to City Union Mission shelter for the night. The shelter originally let the teen in, and a couple hours later kicked them out into the snow for "being in drag" and not fitting into the "family values" of the shelter - clear discrimination against this young person for being trans. By 12:30 pm, the teen finally departed from Kansas City via bus.
I am thankful to work in a church that embraces those who are accustomed to being outcasts. I am so thankful to be able to offer a small bit of support to a young trans person in a bus station without fear of losing my job. I so thankful to be able to advocate against transphobia in our homeless shelters without fear of retaliation from the members of the church I serve.
Broadway Church is an open, unconditionally loving place because you, as its members, show up with open minds and unconditionally loving hearts to open doors to anyone in need of a space to encounter Spirit. It is an honor to be your minister.