Hosting Ted & Co.’s play (Listening for Grace) is definitely a statement about our willingness to explore tough questions. I truly feel that the Holy Spirit is active and moving in our midst. God is uniting us so that we are ready to wrestle with questions that don’t always have easy answers. Through conversations with Lay Leaders and Council, the leadership of Stahl has been of one mind: we must be ready to talk about gays and lesbians and the church. Hosting Listening for Grace is one way that we as a church are saying: we are ready to talk.
We must remember as our church steps out to create a place for this conversation, for many this is a hot button issue, dividing people along political lines and breaking churches in half. Glade Mennonite Church has just left Allegheny Mennonite Conference because the Conference didn’t force Hyattsville to leave.
As we have been promoting Listening for Grace, I have already been interviewed by one local paper about it. This is exciting. People are talking about Stahl and your pastor will be quoted saying that “this play is important, and may help the church approach this conversation with a bit more grace and understanding.” It is clear that God is up to something in all of this - but it may not make everyone happy. People are upset that the conversation is being had. I guess I am trying to prepare you for any misplaced anger.
God is up to something. So trust in God if you face any criticism in the next few weeks. Trust that God will give you words to speak to testify to the work of God that happens in conversation, questions and gracious welcome. Let us produce good fruit for all to see: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Bob Brown, pastor