You Gotta Have Faith!
I love Euclid. That’s no secret. I participated in an event on Saturday, February 22nd that reminded me of some of the reasons why.
On that day, Lake Shore Christian Church, the church that I pastor, hosted a Faith in the City meeting initiated by Mayor Gail. The meeting was attended by more than 20 people representing a dozen different churches. It was so encouraging to see everyone around the table on a Saturday morning when we all had other things that we could be doing. This meeting was a priority.
The group that convened that morning was diverse in every way. There were different religions, genders, ages, sexual orientations and ethnicities. Some around the table were ministers, others were not. Some churches had been in Euclid for almost a hundred years and some were much newer. The differences represented around that table were not nearly as remarkable as the common dedication all felt to be involved in positive transformation within the city.
I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate we are to live in a city where the Mayor values the contributions of the faith community and encourages us to work together with her to effect positive change. Our conversation that morning revolved not only around our individual congregations but also on what we all experience as common issues and how we might work together on these and other matters in the future.
One of the topics that we discussed was the absence of or decrease in the number of young people in many of our congregations. Where are they? Why aren’t they in the pews? What can we do to attract and engage them? The issue of engaging young people in positive activities is also an issue for the schools and the city. This is certainly an issue we can all work on together and we will continue this conversation in the future.
We also had a conversation about religion vs. the teachings of Jesus. Are we more concerned about rules than thinking about WWJD? Are we judgmental about who prays with us or do we welcome everyone, even those different than us? Are the doors of our churches cracked just a little bit or flung open wide?
And how do we serve those in the city? Do we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, comfort the sick, etc.? It’s hard to pray when you’re hungry. It’s hard to get involved if you have no place to live. How could the way we serve affect the way that our churches grow?
Everyone that attended the meeting agreed that we wanted to continue to work together and that this group could accomplish some really meaningful things in the future. We will continue to do the events that we have in the past as well as consider how we can work together to bring the community together as we model that unity in our relationships as faith leaders.
This brings me back to my opening statement about my affection for the city of Euclid. With all of it’s problems Euclid is always trying to move forward in creative new ways. Our city leadership encourages it. Our faith leaders are willing to step out of their churches, out of their comfort zones to accept the challenge and be a part of the solution.
As a councilman, I am grateful for the Mayor’s vision. As a pastor I am grateful for my fellow pastors for their support as we journey together. As a resident, I continue to be excited about what the future holds.
Vice President of Moore Counseling and Mediation Services, Inc., Councilman for Euclid Ward 2 and Associate Minister at Lake Shore Christian Church. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org