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The UCC - Continuing Testament,
Extravagant Welcome, Changing Lives!
This page is being set up for our members and friends to share their faith and experince at Grace UCC. Poems by our church member Jay Pennington.
“A House Not Vacant”
We come to love.
Our challenge is
Our challenge is
So many challenges,
We fight these battles
It is our endeavor,
There is a church in Houston –
“Grace United Church of Christ.”
I was looking for more meaning –
more of a purpose to my life.
I could not fill my emptiness –
I was lonely for
fellowship, and friendship –
a family who would accept me –
a church to help me grow –
grow as a person, and as a Christian,
embracing me for who I am.
My partner felt the same way too,
and a couple of years ago,
he found the site for Grace.
Upon our initial visit, we were amazed
at how friendly and welcoming they were.
They were grateful for the food we bought
for a donation to the hungry.
They invited us for their pot luck,
even though we brought no dish.
Two years later, Grace is still
the same loving kind of church.
My spirituality had long been suffering
for a variety of many reasons.
One reason for my lack of spiritual growth,
is that I’ve heard too many preachers
condemn my kind to Hell.
When I was young, I tried to change
in every way a person can attempt to;
then, at last, in time, I realized
I am who God created me to be.
There is no inherent conflict,
in being gay and Christian too.
Being gay is not a choice:
it is not a preference;
it is not a lifestyle;
it is not an accident of nature;
it is what defines me;
it is who and what I am.
Everyone is worthy of God’s love –
We are saved by the Grace of God.
Salvation isn’t something
we can earn or learn.
Grace has reinforced
what was a fragile self awareness.
We are an “open and affirming”
congregation; accepting, not just tolerating
the GLBT community.
This makes me proud,
rather than ashamed,
and comfortable, instead of awkward.
I can hold my partner’s hand in church,
and put my arm around his shoulder.
We welcome every soul
who enters in our church,
and we affirm every Sunday;
“no matter who you are,
or where you are on life’s journey,
you are welcome here.”
We wholeheartedly believe –
we fully understand that
“God is still speaking.”
My path led me to Martin,
and he led me to Grace;
where we received inconceivable
enlightenment, and joy.
Grace is my balm from Gilead –
they make my wounded soul
complete, nurtured, whole,
whenever I am there.
I am spiritually healing and maturing,
for Grace has taught me
what it means to be a child of God,
and what it doesn’t mean.
It is not to judge, or to condemn,
but rather, to love and to accept;
it is not to save “wayward souls,”
who wander off
“the straight and narrow path;”
it is not to convert God’s
of differing beliefs or religions;
race, creed or color.
God is diverse, and therefor,
so are all creations.
Being Christian is not to
ignore the hungry, or the ill;
the elderly, the homeless;
the disabled, or the needy;
the oppressed, or those
surviving and dying under tyranny.
it is not to deprive women of equal pay
for equal work – not for one more day;
it is not to deny or harass women
in need of reproductive health care;
it is not to frighten people,
by condemning them to Hell.
You might ask then,
“what exactly is it that we believe in,
and what exactly is it that we do?”
We try to do what we believe
is God’s calling for us to do.
We try to feed the hungry;
we work to end oppression;
we work to right the wrong’s in life;
we work to put an end to poverty –
to gain justice and a better life for all;
we work to end all hatred;
and we believe that love is more inspiring –
that love is so much stronger
than any type or degree of hate.
We try to be stewards of the earth,
rather than to exercise dominion.
Yet we can only do a little by ourselves;
for, we are but a small church.
Please help us help the world,
one person at a time.
We would welcome your fellowship,
and friendship, and a grand community.
We would welcome your talent, your time,
and devotion, and we pray you need the same.
So, please come visit us this Sunday,
and become a part of our loving,
...by Jay J Pennington