“Rooted in Authenticity: Church Beginnings” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

June 2nd,2022 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Friends,

I hope this week you find yourselves surrounded by those who love and support you in your wholeness. This month we are Rooted in Authenticity, and it takes a great deal of courage and Holy self-knowledge and love for many in our community to live authentically and I am grateful that we are and have been a place that celebrates and loves everyone who comes through the doors of our church. When I tell people that our faith community has been a place that celebrates love in all its forms for decades, they are often so excited that a place like The Park exists and often they join us for worship online or in person. I know that is even how some of you came into our community. That is my hope as we celebrate this season of Pentecost, which we will celebrate this Sunday in worship.

Pentecost is often talked about as the birthday of the church, and I would like to think of it that way for us too. As you read though the scriptures think about what it meant for the early Christians to cast vision for the community that they are into the community they hope to become. As we build our space, which in the coming weeks may have more construction happening and movement with our layout so that we may finish soon, but as we build something new it invites us to also think of ourselves as new. So, as you read this passage from the Book of Acts and think about all these people bringing their authentic selves into this new vision of church, where do you see yourself? Where do you see our church? And most importantly, where do you see God?

Acts 2:1-11 (Year W):

“1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in the same place. 2 And there came suddenly from heaven a sound like the sweeping of a mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared among them divided tongues, as of fire, and one rested on each of them. 4 And all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak in other tongues just as the Spirit gave them to speak.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem devout Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 Now at this sound the crowd gathered and was confused because each heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astounded, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how do we hear, each in our own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and those who live in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjacent to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs, we hear them speaking in our own tongues about God’s deeds of power.”

  • In what ways are you curious about other communities’ relationship to God?
  • How have you created a place of welcome for people who experience God differently than you do?
  • Is there a part of your culture or upbringing that plays a significant part in your faith life today?
  • How have you made way for your faith and relationship to God to grow when you come into diverse and expansive community?
  • What is a hope you have for our church that would make it feel like a new community?

Friends, I hope that this season of Pentecost brings new beginnings into our midst and helps us understand who we are to God and each other in ways that feel authentic to who we are and gives hope to who we may become with the help of God. Be sure to check out the Rooted in Authenticity newsletter for the exciting gatherings happening this month and we hope to see you Sunday for our Pentecost worship!

Shalom Y’all
Rev. Stephanie

Simple Prayer: O God of all things new, speak again.  Amen