Around 5 AM on Saturday December 5, 2020, alarm bells rang out to the New York City Fire Department. There was a fire at the corner of 48th East and 7th St. The fire department was on the scene three minutes later, but it was too late to save the beautiful sanctuary of Middle Church.
Fierce and Faithful
This 128 years old church, the oldest continuously active church in the United States, is led by the fierce and faithful Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis. Across the country, people tell stories of their visits to Middle Collegiate Church. They remember watching services online in their beautiful sanctuary. They remember attending Revolutionary Love, a conference aimed at reshaping a prophetic imagination.
That space has been a powerful platform for launching ministries of love and justice for over 128 years.
So, what do you do when your church burns down in the middle of a pandemic?
Grief, Grace , Love
Leaders from around the world grieved the loss of what was. People prayed for the leaders and the congregation. Generous expressions of love and support poured in from around the world.
Some could think this is God’s judgment on a Christian church that supported, embraced and promoted the LGBTQ community and BLM.
Middle Church is known as a “progressive” Christian church. They receive a ton of criticism and shaming from the Evangelical community. Middle Church unashamedly stays focused, to the point of obsession, on love and justice. Of being a place of peace for their community, their nation, and the world.
Obsession may be considered an unbalanced or unhealthy word, but it is only the obsessed that create cultural change. Think about the Apostle Paul. He was obsessed with the gospel. Obsession earned him the derisive title of the “man who turned the world upside down” while he was turning the world right side up for Jesus.
Comfort and Peace
Pastor Jacqui is a grieving pastor. She is also a visionary leader for her congregational. She calls out the future and calls her congregation to dream God’s thoughts about their future. A fire cannot stop revolutionary love.
Start watching at the 13:30 mark of this video to hear Pastor Jacqui’s vision to see the church rise out of the ashes to be stronger than ever. This is a leader who loves God and loves people. I like that.
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