A place where "us and them" become "we"

A place where "us and them" become "we."Ray Goodrow

When I was asked to give a brief message this morning as part of the “I Am Foundry” focus I was reminded of a quote by Ginger I had seen in a United Methodist News Service article when she was appointed to Foundry. She said that in coming to Foundry she hoped to share the message of “God’s steadfast love, that there is a place in the reign of God for all people, and that God will use each person’s gifts in order to make manifest that reign on earth as it is in heaven.” 

When I first came to Foundry thirty years ago the idea that God could (would) use each person’s gifts – that God would use my gifts as an openly Gay man – here at Foundry, wasn’t recognized – it wasn’t even on the radar screen.  Foundry’s earliest openly Gay and Lesbian members, I would say bent over backwards, to be the best, brightest, most committed United Methodist gay Christians you could imagine.  They were spiritual, they volunteered when asked, did all the right stuff – except, they were Gay!  How would God use their gifts?  This went on, I’d say, for ten years.  I believe it was Foundry’s response to the AIDS crisis that made it apparent that all of our gifts together were needed to make a difference. 


Thirty years later things are much different.  Today we are “one body,” the clergy, staff, the congregation, on many “messy” issues - identified not so much by where we are on an issue but by what we are doing about it.  I have been reminded of this many times over the last couple of years including: when clergy and congregation members mounted an instant response to protestors on our doorstep the weekend of the SCOTUS marriage equality arguments, when clergy served communion on the steps of the Supreme Court the same week, when I stood with other Foundry members at the Shower of Stoles witness at General Conference in Portland, as clergy, staff, and gay and straight members marched in this year’s Pride Parade, and finally, when we celebrate here our marriages, our children, and lives lived as “good and faithful servants of God”. 


So today “I Am Foundry”.  We are all Foundry.  We support Foundry with our time, talents, gifts, and service, as we build a place where “us and them” become “we.”  We all seek to make manifest the reign of God on earth.

Ray Goodrow

 

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