Thursday, January 4, 2018

Some events in life bring sadness to your heart by Denise White

Let me step back a little, in 2006 I became the pastor of the Wheeling, WV Community of Christ congregation.  I served in that role until my husband, Blair, and I knew in early 2016 that we would be moving to the Salt Lake City area.  We realized since the Wheeling congregation was very small when the two of us left the congregation, more than likely, it would close.
Even after we moved and we went back home for Christmas we volunteered to plan, preside and speak at the Christmas Eve service (my favorite service of the year!)
By the summer of 2017 the congregation had dwindled to 6 to 8 people.  The decision was made to close the congregation and sell the building.  A Methodist denomination purchased the building. It was one of the denominations that we worked with to provide an Ecumenical Vacation Bible School in the community.
The decision to close and sell the building made me sad, but because I was over 1,800 miles away I was able to put it out of my mind, until this past Christmas Eve. Blair & I was able to “go home” for Christmas so we decided to go and join the Methodist group in “our” building for their Christmas Eve service.
It was very difficult to see the building that we had lovingly built, cared for and worshiped in for so many years “belong” to someone else.  But as we sat and heard the familiar story of the birth of our Lord and Savior the scripture came to mind from Doctrine and Covenants Section 161 verse 5 “ Be respectful of tradition. Do not fail to listen attentively to the telling of the sacred story, for the story of scripture and of faith empowers and illuminates. But neither be captive to time-bound formulas and procedures.”
In the telling of sacred story, we became bound together. In two different groups coming together to listen attentively as one body, we were united as one. We may not believe exactly the same but we came together and listened attentively to the telling of the sacred story in the scriptures. 

Even though my heart was sad at the selling of a building and with the recognition that some of the old traditions will never be the same, I do not want my heart to be captive.  I want to be open to new possibilities.  Change is not easy but neither do I want to be closed off to new possibilities.