First United Methodist Church of Downers Grove, IL hosts Sister Parish Board
by Bruce Sherman
The Sister Parish Board members each found their own way to Downers Grove for a 3 day weekend of meetings. We meet in person twice each year because we strongly believe in face to face, and interpersonal relationships. In a way, that face to face dynamic of our board matches the mission of our organization; that establishing long-term friendships between faith communities is very important.
On Thursday evening, Ina and Ray Osborn hosted the group at their house. I wasn’t there yet but spent a lot of time over the weekend as Ina and Ray were actively supporting our schedule and activities. Thank you so much to the two of you, as well as the other congregation members who hosted us as guests.
Except for the snow that fell Saturday afternoon and evening, the weather was quite nice, and the folks at the First United Methodist Church made us feel very welcome. We had a nice meeting room with large windows and a good setup for our meeting.
Our SP Board supervises Executive Director Carrie Stengel, and we sure are fortunate to have Carrie with us at Sister Parish. We always look forward to hearing from her as she talks about the health and running of the organization. Past boards have done an amazing job of setting up the structure of Sister Parish, and that makes it easier for everyone to properly track both our financial and human business.
My previous post after our November meeting last year details the work of the board so I won’t repeat that again here.
Twice a year, we meet at churches that have a Sister Parish linkage. I’m beginning to realize that this is more than just a convenience but is essential to the ongoing Sister Parish mission. An SP board meeting is like a three day delegation visit for we board members. We stay in your homes and meet your kids and pets. We reminisce about past delegations and share pictures of our homes and families. We tell stories to each other. We pray together and cry together.
While we were in Downers Grove, the recent decision by the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church was announced. Most hearing the announcement on Sunday morning were disappointed by the ruling, which likely spells the end of the United part of the Methodist Church. We are disappointed that so many in the United Methodist Church are voting to exclude rather than include. They fight for the old ways and the old rules, rather than embrace a more complete understanding of gender and sexuality.
Doesn’t this turn out to be the Sister Parish Mission as well? We fight to include, not to exclude. We fight the ways of genocide, slavery, and subjugation, and work for humans rights, dignity, and honest well-paid work for those who can. We take care of the sick and the elderly, and fight for justice in all its forms.
After each Sister Parish Board Meeting, I feel like I’ve come back from a delegation. We renew our mission and renew our energy to help Sister Parish grow and thrive. I wish each of you reading this could experience some of that energy in your own lives.
Actually, I do have an idea for one way you can experience this for yourselves. From November 14-23 2019, Sister Parish will host an open delegation to El Salvador and Guatemala.
This will be a great opportunity to see several of the Sister Parish Communities in Central America and help to support Sister Parish as well. The open delegations are set up to be different than a regular delegation visit. I’ll be going this November, and any of you reading this are welcome to join us if you can. For details, visit this link Open Delegation.
Sister and brothers in both the North and the South, I hope we meet on a future delegation, whether a formal one, or simply a warm gathering of Sister Parish folks.