Hopes for Sunday and Beyond, guest blogger Bonnie Chappell
We are standing on the edge of a big decision, and that has brought with it an understandable measure of anxiety. I hope that naming our fears and hopes—hearing that many others share them—has given you a measure of peace about Sunday’s vote.
Many of us have worried about the potential of a vote on same-sex marriage to divide us. This fear has prevented many churches from having conversations like these at all. But here we all are, having spent time in a room together for three consecutive weeks, discussing openly how God might be calling us to something new. These conversations have been hard, but I am struck by how healthy it feels to have let everything out into the open air.
It would be tempting to think that our work on this issue of inclusivity and marriage will be finished Sunday when we count the votes. But what happens after that moment will say as much about the character of our church as the way we have gotten there.
My hope is that the gentle, grace-filled spirit that has permeated our conversations will continue to guide us after the vote—regardless of its outcome.
That we will not define one another by the ballots we cast. That we will remember that our brothers and sisters have taken their vote as seriously as we have—are trying to be faithful to God, just as we are.
That those who find themselves in the majority will be kind and gracious to those who do not. That no one would gloat or become self-righteous. That no one would be made to feel expendable.
That those who find themselves in the minority will be kind and gracious to those who do not. That no one will assume they don’t matter because they voted a certain way.
These are my hopes. And I believe that they are yours as well. We’ve said them out loud, and now we’re ready to move forward.
At the beginning of these conversations, I told you that whichever side you find yourself on, you are a beloved child of God and this church wouldn’t be the same without you. That feels truer to me today than it was two weeks ago. Because I know you so much better now than I did then. We’ve shared each other’s stories in a new and deeper way. You are my brothers and sisters and I love you. I can’t imagine this church without you in it.
No matter what happens, we’re still going to be church on August 28. I have every confidence that we will continue to do good work. We will still be the people who adopted this vision statement last spring: “The First Baptist Church of Christ at Macon nurtures authentic faith and belonging, loves and serves courageously, and affirms the image of God in all people.”
Bonnie Chappell, chair of Deacons