What brings people together? Food, Holidays, Worship, Sports, Concerts….
And what divides people? Politics, Religion, Personalities, Cultural Differences….
We constantly are walking among diverse groups of people in every sector of our lives. And sometimes those diverse groups are drawn together by some unifying event, program, or idea and sometimes those groups are ripped apart by disagreements grounded in a myriad of potential differences.
Guess what? The Church is no different. The Church of the Brethren is a diverse group of people from all over the country, in varieties of communities, adopting culturally diverse practices. We have some differences of opinion over some of the more hot-button issues of our day too. On the other hand, we have in common the belief in the same Lordship of Jesus Christ who reigns over all people everywhere. Commonalities and differences, where do you think we spend the most conversation when the Church of the Brethren gathers for Annual Conference? It seems like the differences preoccupy us, though it might just feel that way because those weigh on our consciences more.
The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference determined this past year that we need to set aside some of these differences in order to find a Compelling Vision that the whole church can claim and give greater authority in our communal life than these unresolved differences. Can we live together with differences? The hopeful answer is, yes, if we name a common purpose that unites us all.
Thus, the Compelling Vision Process is underway and the Church needs to hear perspectives from Brethren across the country. Opportunities for you to discuss these things have been established in our District in three locations:
- Manassas COB- November 17, 10am-12pm
- Frederick COB- November 17, 3pm-5pm
- Easton COB- December 1, 10am-12pm
I think the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren offers a great perspective to this conversation. You all do excellent ministry amidst diversity on a regular basis. You all claim more reason to be together than to be separate. I believe you make this a priority because your vision is bigger than you are. Your vision is for Christ’s Kingdom and not your own. So let us model for the church what Christian community can look like and let us engage in conversation.