September 1, 2015

Dear LABC,

And now we welcome the month of September, the bridge between summer and autumn. I trust that this bridge month will hold good health and good hope for each of you.

This Sunday we will celebrate our identity as a founding member of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. This will be the third of four Sundays honoring the diversity of our congregation. The next will be Latino/Hispanic Heritage Sunday on October 4.

In my sermon I will borrow heavily from a Bible Study titled “Christian Baptism and the Expanding Idea of Community in Luke and Acts” that my colleague in the Evergreen Baptist Association and on the American Baptist Seminary of the West Board of Trustees, the Reverend Dr. Leslie Braxton, led at the American Baptist Mission Summit in Kansas City in June, In this Bible Study Dr. Braxton, who is the Senior Minister at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Kent, WA, noted that in Luke and Acts “Christian Baptism functions as the ‘badge of inclusion’ for the Disciples of Jesus who had a continually expanding understanding of community.”

He pointed out the waters of baptism were open not only to circumcised males in good standing with the religious elites associated with the Temple in Jerusalem but to women, publicans, Samaritans, sexual minorities, gentiles, shepherds and other members of lower economic classes.

I will point out that at different points in our history the Disciples of Jesus, in contrast to Jesus, have, to our own detriment, drawn the lines of inclusion and welcome into the Beloved Community far too narrowly.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • All who are grieving
  • All who are fleeing war, famine, and terror
  • Kay Baxter for her family and for herself
  • Tess Benin for her Aunt Rose
  • Rick McKillop for his daughters as they face career choices
  • Doris and Ted Evans
  • All caregivers
  • Thanksgiving with Natalia
  • Thanksgiving for our children and youth, their families, their teachers, their leaders
  • Margaret Alexander for her family and herself
  • The Evergreen Baptist Association and our Executive Minister Marcia Patton
  • Joan Patten for Peter and Paula
  • Those who serves as part of International Ministries, ABCUSA
  • All who are developing sources of renewable energy working to limit our use of fossil fuels

Our friends at California Interfaith Power and Light remind that September 1 is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.