After the Fire…It’s the Rising

It’s five days after the fire. Café Mocha’s building has been demolished; the debris is being sorted and carted away. That’s where the fire started, but we don’t know how. We’ve created these FAQs to tell you what we know right now.
So many people are contributing toward our rising: The firefighters, Gale Brewer, the Lower Eastside Girls club, synagogues, churches and mosques. My friends Traci Blackmon and Linda Sarsour are among those who started Facebook fundraisers; Matthew Johnson Harris is holding a Mosaic concert. All over the globe, love is pouring in—from John Dyett in Bendigo, from Janice Wong in New Zealand, from people we know and people we don’t. They love the way we do love; they’re proud of our bold justice work, and they are moved by our multi-everything community.
Our member, Lindsay Branham, worked with Kaliswa Brewster and the team at The Call to Unite to make this movie about this moment, to tell our story. It’s a love offering, given freely. And, from ministries of bringing coffee, to taking photos of the site, sending dinner to our team, helping move things to safety, phone calls, texts and posts in social media—you have made so many love offerings to your church. THANK YOU!! And please, post your stories about the Middle sanctuary on our beautiful new tribute board.
We need your help now. If you are able to make a year-end donation, please do so, at This is the fund we’ve established so we can replace what we have lost, and rebuild whatever new thing will rise from the ashes. Whatever you give will help us get to tomorrow. Also if you’ll share Lindsay’s movie, that would be super helpful. Folks are drawn to it, to us. Since last Sunday, 25 people have joined Middle Church (231 since March 15!) and 920 more asked to be on our mailing list. Over $195,000 has been donated.
Come Sunday, Amanda is going to preach, I’ll offer prayers, and the worship team selected music to move you deeply, as we celebrate the third week of Advent. Our programs are humming, we’re still putting revolutionary love in the world; the fire can’t stop that.
I’ve been singing the second verse of “Nina Cried Power” all week long, when my heart breaks, when my tears come:
It’s not the shade we should be cast in
It’s the light and it’s the obstacle that casts it
It’s the heat that drives the light
It’s the fire it ignites
It’s not the wakin’, it’s the risin’
Even as we sit in ashes, may a fire be ignited in our hearts, a fire of hope, peace, joy and love—rising.
Like the love I feel for you,