This post originally appeared on my Facebook page, fb.com/j.lemastersmith on February 5th, 2023
I have spoken with several pastors and lay folk over the past months whose churches have voted or are in the process of disaffiliating. The main thing I sense from these people is a sense of grief. Both those who want to leave and those don’t, particularly in the rural settings I inhabit, are experiencing a sense of grief. A grief for the church they thought they knew, a grief for legacy they see unraveling, and a grief that their future feels even more unclear.
I know that no matter which way you are going, you need to take the time to grieve this loss. No matter how much I say, we are dividing/merging church historically, the reality is, it still hurts. So, churches, offer services of grief and lament for the past and future that you thought were there. If and when I have time, I may write one, but until then, there are several services of lament present in our resources that can be tweaked.