Upon the advice of our GracePoint Church Overwatch Safety Team, the church leaders have agreed to delay our outdoor public worship service for one week, to June 14th at 9:00 am. We understand that many find this announcement disappointing, but we are asking everyone to patiently bear with this adjustment for reasons of safety and distraction.
A local protest in support of racial justice is scheduled for the west side of Lodi on Sunday, June 7, not far from our church campus, and very close to the time of our scheduled worship gathering. We are praying that this protest remains a peaceful gathering that legitimately brings attention to the need for solutions to racial tensions in our nation. Current events, however, indicate that sometimes influencers from outside our community attend these protest events which can make these events unpredictable.
Given the wide range of ages expected at our outdoor worship gathering, we want to provide a safe and positive a first worship experience as possible. While we remain confident and supportive of our local law enforcement, some information sources indicate the strong likelihood that this protest will move past our church property on their way to the Lodi police station which would create a significant distraction to our focus of worship and a concern for safety. A large worship gathering like ours would create an unnecessary distraction for our own safety team and our local law enforcement if these two events happened close to one another. We, therefore, believe it is wise to simply postpone our first gathering by one week so that we can gather with a more worship-focused intention next week. Thank you for understanding. Please go online for a time of worship this weekend.
A quick word about the topic of racial justice.
Just when we all began to feel a sense of optimism about the COVID-19 situation, a black man was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Suddenly our nation was fractured with unrest, justified anger, as well as unjustified violence. I confess that I cannot pretend to know the economic frustration of living in communities that have poor-performing schools, insufficient infrastructure and very little economic advantage. What I do know is that the frustration has reached a boiling point all over these United States and we feel anything but united. We hurt for each other and as believers, we need to show grace and peace.
We are responsible not only to know the gospel of God’s love, but to live it out in our attitudes and opinions. Even the Old Testament prophet Isaiah foreshadowed the important reminder that God’s love and the gospel was not limited to only a few. “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentile, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
Churches like ours MUST declare and live the gospel, because only the message of Jesus and His grace will bring lasting light and unity among people (John 16:33). What we hold in common through Jesus Christ is greater than anything that would separate us from one another. Churches, pastors, Christian leaders, and every Christian believer is called to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8). We must all look for ways to intentionally love and listen to those who have very different experiences from ourselves. We are all created in the image of God and in that way are one people, and on that basis, we are all Americans.
In and through us, the name of Jesus is intended to go out into the broken world and bring healing for the nations.
From a Shepherd’s Heart,
Pastor Perry Kallis