Heaven on Earth, With Your Help

It’s the end of week one of my Lilly Endowment-funded study/sabbatical time. Along with a beautiful visit with my brother and his family, John and I’ve experienced southern hospitality from clergy, hosts, and wait-staff, and from helpful folk on the street confirming directions and recommending places to eat. We worshipped at Greenleaf Church with Bishop William Barber (I got to preach on July 4) and met with some of his congregants after. We broke bread with The Rev. Dr. Jim Forbes and his wife, Betty. We were in three cities in three days, ending our time in Charlotte with a visit to the Gantt Center.
One of the photo exhibits, “Choose Your Weapon: Views from the Front Lines of the War for Black Lives” featuring the work of E. Mackey, left us in tears. The beauty of the activists, the brutality of the state—it was almost too much to bear. But bear it we did, buoyed on the hope we have because of Middle Church and our fiercely loving community that puts the value of Black lives in the center of our work. Our commitment to create an antiracist, more just society is one of the reasons John and I give a tenth of our resources to support Middle’s ministry every year.
As I said at our Congregational Meeting last month, Middle Church will need your support more than ever because the financial situation at the Collegiate Church has changed due to COVID-19 and an investment that went south. The Consistory and I passed a budget on June 28 for Fiscal Year 2022 — which began on July 1 — that reflected a $400,000 reduction in resources from Collegiate.
Our $2,160,000 budget is lean, and includes reductions in expenses (and reduction in some staff hours) AND the addition of funds needed to rent space for programming and worship. It also includes a $1,000,000 contribution from the congregation (up from $900,000 last year).
This budget is not about the capital campaign we will eventually embark upon. It is about programming our Freedom Lab (adults) and Freedom School (children and youth); it is about training and education, about protests and activism. It is about loving our neighbors through care and justice; it is about inspiration and hope that comes from worship — all of this both physical and digital as never before. It is also about you, healing what aches in your soul and healing the world as well.
Come Sunday, you’ll see the budget in my invitation to Join the Movement. And it is in this link as well. You’ll also hear a powerful sermon from Rev. Darrell and beautiful music. As we move toward the future — some in person gatherings this summer, our Homecoming outside in the street on October 3, and in-person/digital worship and programs, beginning October 10 — we hope you’ll partner with us. Now more than ever, our revolutionary love is required to make America whole, just, fair, peaceful, and loving; to make our nation look and feel like heaven on earth. To make a donation or join our movementgo to the website, and click the button.It’s that easy, AND it’s urgent and important.
Love you,