Saturday, November 8, 2008

Occasions of hospitality and accessible points of entry are critical in urban ministry

WEDDING IN AN URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD. Today, I conducted a wedding for neighbors who live just a few blocks from our church facility. This is one of my hopeful acts as an urban pastor, something I do not take lightly. Our large and nice, if aging, facility is a landmark in West Indianapolis. Couples like to get married here. And I like to assist them in this important step in a lifelong journey of faith.

IDENTIFYING THE CHURCH. Rarely do couples seeking to be married at West Morris Street Free Methodist Church attend services regularly. In this instance, the couple's children attend Sunday School occasionally, enough that I know them by their first names. The family certainly identifies WEMO as their church. And if they identify us as their church, I feel a responsibility for us to BE the church as best we can.

MAKING LASTING CONNECTIONS. I don't require much hoop jumping. I walk a couple through a series of premarital meetings (I would hardly call it counseling) and get to know them and let them get to know me and the church. I try to establish connections that can become readily-activated channels of care and response...even the beginnings of friendship and community. I pray that such a point of entry is poignant enough to open up a retracable pathway of grace.

Check out our developing WEMO Blog; have wide-ranging, ongoing conversation of faith with us.

I welcome your comments and/or questions in the spirit of dialog. Share yours by clicking on "comments" just below. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

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