By Seana Murphy
This blog post is part of a series that features guest posts from members of congregations that have received Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal grants. We wish to highlight the ways in which these grants are blessings, not only to the pastors who go on renewal leaves, but to the congregations themselves.
The blessings of joy, abundance, faith, and hope are manifest in the life of Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, every day. The clergy renewal grant has provided the leadership of this wonderful church the needed opportunity to fully engage the challenge and the promise of the mission statement: As followers of Jesus Christ, responding to God’s love, our mission of the people of Broadway Church is to be a multicultural Christian Community that seeks, welcomes, and values all people. Implicit in the mission statement are the acts of seeking, welcoming, and valuing. One of our pastors, through the renewal grant, was able to experience and share the power of these actions by meeting with participants in the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa. The stories of truth telling-forgiveness-singing-marching in the light of God’s promise continue to move Broadway as we work to build relationships across the pew, community, nation, and world.
Abundance was the focus of a recent renewal grant awarded to a pastor. Abundance was realized across the world, specifically in China. The pastor was able to stand in the space-considered barren land for “undesirable children” that gave her the greatest gift of this life: her daughter. Joy, hope, and life spring eternal in this place that, without investigation, one would deem dark and empty.
Through the stories of finding abundance in places where others only see emptiness and despair, families struggling with real issues of poverty, addiction, and violence who worship in the congregation realize that even in the darkest times God is abundantly present in their lives.
These are but a few examples of how the clergy renewal grant has inspired our leadership and our congregation. Like other congregations, we deal with issues of budgets, attendance, etc. Ours is done, however, from the perspective that within the walls of the church and in the lives of our expanded community we have all that is needed to witness to the glory of God.
The image displayed in this post is "winter by Vladimer Shioshvili, on Flickr" and is used in accordance with Creative Commons licensing.
Seana Murphy is a member of Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, IN.
The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) seek to strengthen Christian congregations by providing opportunities for pastors to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life and to engage in a period of renewal and reflection. To request permission to repost this content, please contact email@example.com.