More than 30 years ago our church formed a partnership with a sister African American congregation named Swope Parkway United Christian Church. We enjoyed pulpit and choir exchanges and dinner groups. During that time I made a lifelong friend named Mary Lou Kepler. She had a civic job at the time but in retirement she became a pastor and she has served our denomination in many capacities, currently as the Moderator of the Greater Kansas City Region of Disciples comprising over 80 churches. The partnership faded away but our pastoral team sought ways to reignited it in recent years as we shared pastoral lunches, a panel discussion with our church board, joint book groups, and a dialogue sermon between one of their pastors and me, and this fall we will share a Human Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama with Swope.

Their Senior Pastor, Rodney Williams called me last week. They have experienced structural problems with their sanctuary and are currently unable to worship in their sacred space. So beginning in July they will worship in our chapel every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. They anticipate sharing our space for six to 11 months while they raise funds to take their next step as a church. I am grateful that we can partner in this way. It gives us the opportunity to be neighbors in a meaningful way.

I’ve invited them to join us for our “Breakfast on the Lawn” between 9:45-11:00 a.m., as this would give us a chance to form friendships with our fellow Disciples of Christ members. You may see our guests coming and going from the chapel, and you may even want to visit one of their worship services. Thank you for being the kind of church that is quick to offer hospitality and grace to our neighbors.

With grace and peace,