Tag Archives: welcome

Creativity Camp

Creativity Camp 2012

I’ve been celebrating creativity this week with our annual Creativity Camp, a free week long experience for children ages 5-11. It’s a diverse mix of kids who bring their talents and energies to share. We have volunteers from all over, some of whom are not even regulars at our church but think this program is worth every moment. The children are taught dances, songs, art, and games each day, culminating in a big performance tonight at 7:00 pm in the Great Hall.

Yes, you are invited to check it out if you are up for something fun.

Here’s what I know in the depths of my soul after this week.

  • Kids are full of energy, which is awesome.
  • Relating to kids is easy, as long as you bring a playful and open spirit to receive each of them as they are.
  • So many of our youth are thirsty for creative arts experiences.
  • All children deserve safe spaces to know they are loved.

These may not be mind blowing concepts, but they deserve to be reiterated. Especially the last one. I wish I could fix that one up on a huge billboard so that every city and church and community was reminded of it. Jesus practiced it. It’s central to who we are at East Dallas Christian Church and the Table. But do we always follow that idea through? What would it mean if Dallas, Texas was a safe space for our kids? What kind of city would we become?

May God help us have the courage and dedication to grow into a place of real welcome and hospitality for our precious children.

 


Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins’ Pastoral Letter

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, our General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), released this pastoral letter on the issue of sexuality within the life of the church. I highly recommend watching it. I am thankful for her work as a theologian, trying to make sense of what we are to do as faithful Christians when there is disagreement and division about an issue such as this. The most important thing she does is remind us that we are called to be gracious and welcoming at God’s table, regardless of how we feel or think about particular issues.

As for the Table, we welcome all to our community. We take seriously this idea that it is God’s table that we gather around, not our own. Since we don’t own it, how do we get to decide who can or cannot come? We too are guests.

I recognize though that it can be tough to dine with folks who have bullied or hurt others in the name of God. Our table, no matter the shape or beauty, can feel broken. We aren’t perfect ambassadors. Injustice still abounds in the church and in our world. People are still excluded and hurt. We are on a journey that is not yet complete.

Jesus said this – “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

I believe that bread of life is available for everyone. I believe when we gather around the table, God feeds us regardless of our hateful ideas and our broken pasts. Bit by bit, we move along the arc of justice, slower than a lot of people would like, but forward nonetheless into God’s future where the divine dwells in harmony with all Creation. We can be a witness to wholeness in a divided world. We don’t have to be perfect to be part of the solution.

What is your response to Sharon’s message? Do you find hope or challenge in it?


Looking to Easter

Jesus Built Tables, Not Walls

Easter is not here yet, but I am extending an invite to all my friends, fellow bloggers, and seekers to come join us for the Table this Sunday.

Many of our neighbors will get a invite card that looks like the image above. If you are wanting to return to church or discover a community that practices God’s hospitality, I hope you check us out. Our gathering takes place at 9:30 AM in the Community Room (below the sanctuary) at East Dallas Christian Church (629 N. Peak St., Dallas, TX). Park in the parking lot and follow the Table signs. Grab a donut and some coffee on the way in at our little breakfast bar. Say hello to some of our regulars. We begin worship with music and continue with a mixture of prayer, conversation, and communion. It’s relaxed and informal – dress as you feel comfortable. If you’ve got kids, you can check them in to our nursery or one of our Sunday School classes where they will have a good time. (My daughter and son can attest to that!)

The Table is a great community – our people are such a blessing, so generous and thoughtful and fun. I believe that comes from the fact that we celebrate and honor Jesus’ generosity and hospitality first shared with us. Wherever you are in your theology or life, come check us out!

For more information about us, check out our various Find Your Place pages, like a map on our location page, what our worship is like, more info about our activities for children and youth, and a convenient contact us form. In addition to worship, we are rapidly expanding our small group options. We have members who participate in our church’s bell choir, our pub ministry, and a Wednesday bible study. In April, we are launching more groups – stay tuned for info on those!

I hope to see you this Easter!


Who Is In & Who Is Out

Unfair Park reported on this sad story this week of a couple of men being called gay slurs and beaten in NE Dallas. The story, from their blog, goes:

Around 2 a.m. yesterday morning, two men were walking near the corner of Audelia Road and Forest Lane in northeast Dallas when, according to police, a dark four-door car, adorned with tinted windows and 24-inch rims, approached them slowly.

There were five or six black men inside, all thought to be their 20s, police say. The pedestrians didn’t recognize any of them, but as the car got closer, the suspects started barraging the two victims with anti-gay slurs, calling them “fags” and “sissy.”

Then came the bats.

Dallas is a great place to live for a lot of reasons, but like many places, people can do stupid, hateful things here. I offer my prayers for the victims and the perpetrators. As a faith community, there is more to be done than just prayer. I know churches have often been the persecutors to people who feel at the edge of society. We have been the ones dictating who is in and who is out, who is clean and who is unclean. And yet the Jesus we follow conducted his ministry almost exclusively among those who were deemed sinful or outside by the religious authorities of their day.

Central to my faith, central to our community is the image of a table, where people can sit together as equals. All are fed. All are welcomed. There aren’t any questions or trap doors or check boxes that you must bypass on your way to your seat – you arrive as you are and are invited to share as you are. In our culture, where people do stupid things to each other, where there is such division, where people feel rejected because of who they are or what they have done, I think practicing a radical table like this points us to a better way of living together.

May we share tables with the generosity and compassion of the One who dined with those who were hated and untouchable.

What do you think?


Bingo!

Bingo!

On March 18 for lunch, the church is going to have a big bingo bash to raise money for our small team of folks who are going to Honduras this summer with the Church of the Incarnation. This effort is part of a plan that will eventually have us taking our own team to Honduras. Our folks going on this trip are continuing to learn about the process and get trained up so they can turn around and guide a trip on their own. We want to support them in this effort of partnership with the people of Honduras.

The Bingo Bash will be an opportunity to connect with other church members, have a lot of fun playing bingo, win some silly prizes, and support this important mission team as they prepare to do their work. It’s $5 for your meal (taco salad bar) and one bingo card. Additional bingo cards are available for additional donations. Oh, and if you want some delicious dessert, that’s an extra donation too! Haha! There might even be some special celebrity guests on hand.

Mark your calendars and plan on helping out!


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