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Seattle, Washington, USA
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Knocking on the
Doors of Justice!
"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it... Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."
Our first responsibility is to love.
(A message of welcome from Greg L. Wheeler)
I remember the first time that I visited Ravenna United Methodist Church.
My next door neighbor had asked me to join her one Sunday and somewhat reluctantly I did. I was raised Roman Catholic in the Central Area of Seattle, having attended both Catholic grade school and high school, and I was still regularly attending that same wonderful church across town which I had always attended since I was a kid. I had once visited the local Catholic church up the street as a good alternative to trekking across town each Sunday morning, but though more convenient, it did nothing for me.
The idea of checking out a new church (and denomination) that day seemed somewhat odd to me. I lived Roman Catholic, and I had known then that I wasn't really interested in anything other than attending a Roman Catholic church. But, on this one day, I thought that I would give it a try.
That was back in 1992, not too long after moving to the Ravenna area. You've probably guessed, as a result of reading this, that I was left with quite a good first impression, and indeed I was. I was greeted warmly and invitingly at the door to the sanctuary by a few of the church members, most notably by an elderly gentleman named Leonard Jones. Leonard had this smile that never seemed to leave his face and upon greeting me I felt the warmth of his welcome and the sincerity of his character. He asked a few questions of me as I was being seated and upon learning of my repair and carpentry skills, he immediately asked if I'd be interested in filling a position on the board of trustees of the church. Actually, not just on the board, but the head of the board. I still have a laugh at that situation. I just smiled and nicely told him I was just visiting and sat down.
Well, Leonard has since passed away, having been one of the oldest members of the church, his family being one of the earliest and longest within the church. He and those greeters on that Sunday and whenever I visited or was invited to a church function or activity, made me feel welcomed and at home. It is this same feeling that I wish to extend to all who visit and come to and into these doors. I really feel that these doors are indeed open to all and that all are welcomed, whether a one time visit or many.
You see, it took me many years later to decide to make Ravenna UMC my church home. I had stopped attending church altogether for some time and began looking again for a place to worship, a place that was a good fit, where I felt welcomed and I could express my love for God with diverse people who were open, inviting, and seeking to better their relationships with the Lord, each other, and the communities around them. My love for the Lord has always been there, my faith was strong, but there was a void, something missing, and to attend church just to attend wasn't doing it for me. From time to time, I had come back to visit and always felt something special here. I finally decided I'd give Ravenna UMC another and better look and began attending regularly in May of 2006, after my last "visit".
Though that first visit in 1992 set the tone, it was the many people that I have met here over the years, their commitment, their openness, their involvement, their activism, their welcoming nature, especially their faith and their love of God that helped in my decision to be a current and active participant and in my willingness to continue doing so. The transition hasn't necessarily been easy, but their help and support have made it so much easier.
Today, I extend to you our welcome, similar to that which I'd received on my first visit. Our faith and love in the Lord, Jesus Christ is what guides us as a faithful church community and active congregation. I am but one greeter at the door. But, it is my hope that I, and the others you meet, can help make your first visit one of many in which you feel invited, welcomed, and at home. Please, come on in. Our doors are open.
And just to let you know... you won't be asked to fill the position of the head of the board of trustees. At least, not right away.
In the Spirit of
Are you In need of prayer?
Here’s a wonderful resource for prayer, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.
Talk to a real person, and let the power of prayer work in your midst.
Upper Room prayer hotline: 1-800-251-2468 (24 hrs)
Ravenna United Methodist Church
5751 33rd Ave. NE,
Seattle, WA 98105-2320