BEing the Church

This banner hangs in the hallway of the Iowa Conference UCC office. I walk by it on the way to my desk and each walk I take to the printer/copy machine.

be the church

Today, I find a deep comfort in its presence.

It has been a particularly difficult week for me.

I had strep throat, while on the road and away from the comfort of my own bed.

Our family said “Thank you, bless you, and goodbye,” to our beloved black lab, Sammy.

My dad had a heart attack and emergency stent procedures to open two arteries, one 90% and one 100% blocked, and now rejoices at his healing and well-being at home.

AND the general election results revealed the depth of the polarization and division of our nation.

And that was just MY stuff. You have your stuff too. And our world, oh how our world has stuff too.


Now what?

It is time to be the church.

Just like it was yesterday. And will be tomorrow.


The world needs us. God called us for such a time as this. We live in a fractured, broken world, in need of deep healing.


BEing the church together matters. It heals the broken places.


Rev. StevensAs my family wept over the loss of our beloved pet of 10 years, Sammy, Terra (6) decided we’d be attending worship the next day in order to say our prayers aloud in the gathered community. Praying together matters. It heals the broken places.


As I returned to my seat from the communion table during worship, waiting for texts regarding my dad’s health, I walked past the table with the worksheets of families in need this coming holiday season. The single mom and two kids in the lower-left corner of the array were waiting for my family to adopt them. Giving to those in need matters. It heals the broken places.


When Native American brothers and sisters cried out that their lives were endangered by greed and consumption that threatens their water in the form of a pipeline for crude oil, UCC clergy from Iowa and across the nation joined 500+ clergy in peaceful protest, allies of the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, and drew attention to the needs of humanity and Creation in that place. Caring for the gift and resources of the earth matters. It heals the broken places.


As we grow increasingly aware of the discrepancy between the experience of white and black Americans, and the deep wounds of systemic racism born from the sin of slavery and oppression, the UCC has begun exploring a curriculum on White Privilege and encourages us all to find ways of repentance and reparation. Confessing our corporate sin and dismantling unjust systems matters. It heals the broken places.


This summer, when our LGBTQ friends and family were targeted again by hatred and violence at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, we marched together behind the very banner that hangs in the hallway outside my office, declaring God’s love for ALL of us. Standing up in love and celebrating those who live in the margins of our society matters. It heals the broken places.


It is time to BE the church.

Just like it was yesterday. And it will be tomorrow. It matters. Because it heals the broken places.


Sharing the journey,






2 Responses to BEing the Church

  1. Lisa Griffith Tierney says:

    Brigit, thanks for your transparency regarding the things that you have been dealing with, and vulnerability in admitting it’s been hard. I’m sorry for your family’s loss, as well.
    When I woke up Wednesday morning to news of election results, I felt like a chaplain to the world, responding to one of the most frightening calls imaginable.
    I’m hurting and fearful too, but feel deeply called to action in the light of the election results. Not action of deepening hatred and division, like some of the things I’m reading about in social media.
    But action that will heal the division, and quickly, so that the scars that remain will not be so deep.
    I feel like this election has called to light, areas in our world that maybe we all thought were better than they are…like maybe we are not as solid as we seemed.
    So now, more than ever, we need to be courageous and compassionate, to learn to talk with people from both sides, with respect and shut down hatred. We need to claim our identity as the true evangelists, Christians led by Gospel teachings to stand for justice and mercy.
    These are the God things that are created in us. Courage in the face of fear, compassion in the face of hatred, and Jesus’ gospel in our hearts!

  2. Brigit Stevens says:

    Bless you and your ministry, Lisa! I think maybe we’re ALL called to be chaplains to the world.

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