June 11, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of Wayzata Community Church,
As our city, state, and nation continue to wrestle with two devastating crises simultaneously, it is our responsibility to speak to, and through, Wayzata Community Church in the interest of clarity and conviction. At this time we wish to speak to both issues: racial injustice and reopening the church. Our hope and prayer is that it will aid in your own personal convictions and decision making.
Racial Equality and Social Justice
Most immediately, our hearts are broken by the murder of George Floyd. The resulting violence and rioting have produced substantial collateral damage. We stand firm in our denouncement of violence in every form, as clearly articulated in our 2018 “Statement on Violence”. CLICK HERE to read this important statement.
We view this moment as a “tipping point” in which increasing numbers of people and organizations are taking unprecedented stances against racial injustice in America. We celebrate this reality and want to lean into the prospects for transformational systemic change. The progress of the past, while positive, has not been sufficient in sustaining and extending racial equality. We are committed to participating in and contributing to the change that is needed— in our hearts and in this world God created.
The initial responses of our church have been to aid those impacted by the violent rioting by providing food, supplies and prayer. We offered an alternative vision to violent protesting through the peaceful protesting of our Clergy team and many members of WCC. But these are only our initial responses.
More must be done, including but not limited to: finding partner organizations to guide and teach us, offering a variety of educational and mission opportunities here at WCC, and beginning a sustainable initiative focused exclusively on the issues of racial and social injustice.
We covet your prayers.
A Safe Return to In-Person Ministry
Although we have discovered new and meaningful ways to connect digitally which will remain in place, in-person ministry is still our native context and relationships are the resource engine for lasting change. We seek safe, appropriate, and necessary ways to “come back” to church.
Under the careful and prayerful leadership of our clergy and staff, we are persisting with compassionate caution. We want to be leaders in this regard, rather than simply following the advice or actions of others. The full development of a “Comeback Plan” is in process as we continue to take direction from state and local authorities.
We are praying for and planning to return to in-person worship on Sunday, August 9, at 9 am only. Assuming a “crawl-walk-run” strategy, we will slowly expand our worship opportunities over several months with a sustained focus on safety. Although the experience may look and feel different, the subject of our worship remains the same. We have an audience of One: our loving, living, everlasting Creator God.
We have already reopened the building to staff, begun doing small funerals, and used outdoor spaces for justice-oriented mission efforts. But worship is our priority and our founding reason for existence.
We covet your prayers.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” We recognize that “new things” are often hard things. So as we ask you to pray for us and for our efforts, we will be praying for you and yours. “To be a caring community drawn together by God’s grace and called to personally live out Christ’s love” is our mission. That mission hasn’t changed, only our methods.
If you, or anyone you know, is in a moment of need due to any source of suffering, please call the church today or visit our website: www.wayzatacommunitychurch.
Peace be with you,
Your Pastoral Response Group
Deacons: Nancy Benedict, Chair; Amy Fulco, Vice-Chair; Reid Shaw, Past Chair
Clergy: John Ross, Danielle Jones, Rustin Comer, Leslie Neugent, Lindy Purdy
Click here to send a message to the Pastoral Response Group.
THE PASTORAL RESPONSE GROUP (PRG) comprises Clergy and Deacon leaders with responsibility for the spiritual health of the congregation. This group was conceived and requested by Senior Minister, John Ross, in 2017 in response to ongoing acts of violence and hatred striking the heart and soul of our nation. The purpose of this group (which may be convened by any member therein) is to discern what may need to be spoken to, or through, Wayzata Community Church in response to significant public events.