Pastor’s Letter — January, 2017

Dear Friends,
We have come to the end of another year. They seem to go by so fast that I can hardly remember
what year we are in. The best part of this time of year for our family is gathering to celebrate. And
the best part of gathering is that our daughters come home, if only for a few days. Christmas was
a mad house, as I am sure it was for many of us.

We opened presents between church services, had whole family celebrations, and called those
across the United States who couldn’t be with us.

On Monday after Christmas we went to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA to see an
exhibition on shoes. Though I had my doubts about the show, it was quite interesting to see
the many ways people have expressed their individual nature through their footwear. Those
who had come to see the show were also quite diverse. There were people of all colors, quite a
few languages, tall people, short people, different sexual orientations, some in wheel chairs, and
some mentally challenged, but it seemed that there was no judgment toward the many
different types of people who had come to see the show.  In a time when we seem heading toward greater judgment of those who are different, it was nice to see a place where that was not the case. I
have never shared with the congregation that I have a sister who is gay. It is not who she chose
to be, but the way she was created. She is wonderful, and slowly, but surely our family has
learned to love her for who she is. She has been with her partner longer than anyone else in our
family and is perhaps one of most dedicated persons I know to see this be a better world. I
love her very much and always hope that others will not judge her.

Why do I share this story with you? Because she is of course part of who I am as well. I love her
and find it very difficult when people speak negatively of people like her. Our world is filled with so many different kinds of people. People of all colors, people who are differently gifted physically and mentally, people who speak different languages, people who are drug addicted, and people who are “normal.” But what does normal mean? It depends on where you are and who you are. When I lived in my village in Sierra Leone I was the odd one. I can remember walking into villages where the children had never seen a white person before and one of the children told me that he felt sorry for me for having been born so ugly. Here my skin color is considered normal there it was strange. Luckily I was not judged for the way I was born. I am hoping with the New Year we can find it in our hearts to embrace and celebrate the many different and wonderful ways that God has created us.

In Christ’s Peace,
Your Pastor