Letter from Pastor Amy
Posted on Riverside Blog June 09, 2014
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Dear Riverside Community,
Today as we begin our journey together, I feel sure that we are standing together on holy ground.
For several long months we have separately done the work of listening for the direction of God’s Spirit. Now we begin the challenge and joy of walking into that future together.
Their questions are the same questions we’re asking: How will we steward the legacy of this beautiful, historic place? How can we pull together to build a community that reflects what we say we believe: a diverse, life-giving community in an increasingly secular urban setting? How can we be God's hands to the poor, the stranger, the weak, the outcast, and the countless children of God who feel beyond the reach of God’s love? What words do we as The Riverside Church have to speak to a hurt and broken world, to a hurt and broken Church?
Here’s where we begin: we begin by looking in, by attending to the state of our own hearts, to our relationships with each other, to the health of this community. As we seek to witness community, love, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, tolerance, peace, and God’s joy to a watching world, we must build and continue to grow those things within our own community.
When we do, we will be amazed at what happens. A church practicing community in this way becomes magnetic; it attracts people who long for the healing and hope it can offer. And out of that healthy community there organically emerge compelling voices, effective ministry, and a tangible faith that can change the world.
But I believe that we’re ready to take this risk together. And when we do, it is exactly then that the work of the church begins. The acts of love and reconciliation that we will share together in gospel community have the power to transform not only our individual lives, but our city and our world.
I am ready to commit to the work and joy of living in this way with all of you; I am asking you to make the same commitment to each other and to me.
But I won’t be the only one beginning the journey ahead—you’ll be there, too! So I’d like to invite you to reflect with me this summer on the many ways in which you experience the presence of God at The Riverside Church, among us and within us, moving through this community of faith. Your clergy will lead you through a sermon series highlighting many of the ways God is already at work in The Riverside Church.
Riverside Church, you are a remarkable community of faith. You have a grand history and a prominent public voice, it’s true. But the deepest strength and richest beauty of this community is found in all of you. You’ve heard me say that as I sought discernment on this call the question that became most important was, “Can you love these people?” You’ve captured me with your desire to know God and to create vital a faith community together. I am so grateful to now have the opportunity to come to know and love you, and I promise to give my whole self to that task and privilege