Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,
I’m excited to share news of the wonderful worship experiences that we have witnessed these past five weeks. As most of you know, we have added new musicians and a praise team to our worship service (Thank you Jonathan, LaShawn, and Richard!) to stir up the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And what a blessing it has been! Through God’s grace, more of our young adults have joined the praise team and are lifting their melodious voices in praise and worship to the glory of the Lord. Indeed, we are transforming our worship service through the power of the Holy Spirit and making a joyful noise unto the Lord! If you have a talent and/or gifts that you would like to use in our worship service, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss how we can incorporate your gifts into our worship.
Since we are expanding our worship and endeavoring to speak more to those who don’t have a church home or who have not a relationship with Christ (and everyone in between); this month we will be looking into what membership (fellowship) in the community of faith entails and brings about. This promises to be an engaging month of Bible filled instruction and inspiration! I encourage you all to ask someone to come to church and bring someone to church with you. This is our evangelistic outreach to the community near and far. Services start at ten o’clock in the morning and then a Spirit-led hour of power ensues.
Finally, as the first African-American pastor at the Church-in-the-Garden, I hold sacred the awesome responsibility God has bestowed upon me to lead God’s people, and to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ without fear or favor. For me, the Gospel is liberating to those who are considered the least, the lonely, and the left out, as well as those who have power, persuasion, and protection. Moreover, I am unapologetically entrenched in the deep cultural and familial roots of the Black experience, which has raised me to understand and appreciate the sojourn of Black people’s collective existence here in the Americas. As I preach and teach every Sunday to a multicultural church with a predominately Latina/o membership, I see more and more the great commonalities between faithful Christ followers and the unmistakable similarities of darker hued people. My story and our member’s stories have given me a new perspective on the practical liberative message of Christ and how to better employ the Word of God for the advancement of humanity. So, I celebrate this Black History month with all of you, regardless of color or creed. The contributions of Black people are not simply an American story, rather an epic global saga. I would commend everyone to learn more about the rich global history of Black people. With such division in this country, particularly down racial lines, it would behoove this nation to come and learn of itself by looking at the full scope of the historical impact Black people have had. Maybe in learning more, we can come to dialogue and communicate with one another, and with God’s help we can start the process of healing, hope, and unity for the many who are in this experiment in America.
Pastor Earl Y. Thorpe Jr.