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Beloved Community: Together We Rise

This June, as Pastor Matt and Pastor Seungli step away from the church for a few Sundays, it is my joy to join you each week in worship at Kearney First! I am a clergy in the UMC and I’m currently serving as the Mercy and Justice Coordinator for the Great Plains Conference. It is an honor to be your guest preacher and I can’t wait to meet each one of you!


When Pastor Matt invited me to preach, the Holy Spirit led me back to the vision of Beloved Community that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all the champions of the Civil Rights Movement lifted up as a dream for our nation so many years ago now.


Coretta Scott King wrote, “The Beloved Community is a state of heart and mind, a spirit of hope and goodwill that transcends all boundaries and barriers and embraces all creation. At its core, the Beloved Community is an engine of reconciliation.” I don’t know about you, but I think we could all use a little bit of reconciliation right about now. So much of our public life feels fractured and broken and controversial all around us, all the time, and I know I feel weary. For people of Christian faith, there has got to be a better way.


I’ve been reading the Rev. Adam Russell Taylor’s book A More Perfect Union: A New Vision for Building the Beloved Community as a companion to the 4-week worship series we are about to embark on together. Taylor is the president of Sojourners, the ecumenical Christian organization founded by Rev. Jim Wallis that works for peace and justice, and he’s biracial. “I am the product of two Americas,” he writes. “My mom and dad sacrificed a great deal in deciding to marry.” The fact that Taylor belongs in two worlds at once, the worlds of white and black America, makes his voice particularly thought-provoking for us as we consider Beloved Community today.


During our time together, we’ll be engaging what it means to be Beloved Community now and how much we could all use spaces for authentic belonging, respect, and love. As your Mercy and Justice Coordinator, you can expect there will be plenty of mercy and justice and United Methodism that makes its way into this discussion too! Here’s how the weeks will flow:


June 4: Beloved Community: Truth, Love, Justice, Belonging

June 11: God’s Mission: The Two Types of Love

June 18: The Four Communities

June 25: Together We Rise: Resurrection Power


I am excited to see how the Holy Spirit will move in all of our hearts as we share this time together. I look forward to joining you not only in worship this month, but in Beloved Community together!


See you very soon!


Rev. Sarah Marsh

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