Dianne Glave: Ministry & Church

Archive for April, 2016

Grace in the City of Coventry, UK

4/20/16

Grace . . . Coventry Cathedral . . . A Stranger . . . Pizza . . . Love

In the City of Coventry, I hadn’t planned to be on the lookout for grace, for love. Yet I witnessed and experienced many manifestations of love: God’s love and the love humanity has for one another.

Coventry Cathedral is a place of forgiveness. I think one of the most profound ways to express love is through forgiveness expressed at the cathedral. In World War II, the Germans bombed the city destroying much of the cathedral. The remnant of the old cathedral remains with a second newer building added. The new building is a reminder that love and forgiveness is possible even when we are destructive symbolized by the remains of the old bombed cathedral.

I also experienced grace seated during the litany in the new cathedral. A man asked if he could sit next to me. The old Dianne would have looked around and said, “There are 40 other empty seats back there. Use one of them.” Instead, I said yes as I sat uncomfortably next to a strange man. Almost immediately, I began to think differently: he might be the sort who doesn’t like to sit alone in church. At the end of a brief litany, I was about to speak to him and he was gone. Rather than thinking I was so kind, I realize the man showed me grace sitting with me during a brief service sharing sacred time.

Later, some of us went to lunch in the Coventry City Center. We had more than enough, sharing our food. Towards the end of the meal I bought a pizza, which I offered to my traveling companions. As we were leaving, a man with a long scar down his face came to our table assuring us he was not a drug addict but needed help. A member of the group was about to grab the last slice but instead offered it to the stranger. He gladly took it. Grace . . . Love.

“The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation” that we read responsively draws from scripture bringing together the various strands of the day: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgive you.” That’s grace. That’s love.

Photos by Dianne Glave

You’re Fired?! Wendy Bell From Theological Perspectives

Over the last week or so, social media has been ablaze over Wendy Bell’s comments on Facebook. WTAE-TV fired Ms. Bell because the television station concluded she described African Americans in stereotypical ways on Facebook. Some deemed those comments racist. Others agreed with her description of African Americans.

Should WTAE have fired Wendy Bell? The answer is no and yes.

As the conversation continues to rage, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with a blog entitled “Firing Someone Doesn’t Change Much” by Rev. Erik Hoeke’s, pastor of Avery United Methodist Church in Washington, PA. He concluded that Ms. Bell should not have been fired because WTAE-TV’s actions eliminated an opportunity to educate Ms. Bell and others about racism. Again, I agree.

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I also believe in grace, a doctrine of the United Methodist Church. Grace is love and forgiveness. Christ forgives us of our sins and in turn we are called to love and forgive those around us. Didn’t Ms. Bell deserve grace, an opportunity to learn from her mistake, having made racist comments some of which stereotyped African Americans as promiscuous?

Conversely, there may have been grounds for Wendy Bell to be fired. Matthew 18:15-19 tells us to confront a church member who has done wrong. When confronted many times and unwilling to change, scripture tells us that a person must leave for the greater good.

Let’s creatively and loosely apply the scripture, a biblical template, to Wendy Bell and WTAE-TV. I’m guessing the television station applied some fundamental human resources protocol in firing Ms. Bell. They may have asked: Was Ms. Bell in a sustained pattern of bias while employed by WTAE-TV? Did she refuse to change her behavior and words when confronted? Was Ms. Bell offered diversity training, which she rejected? We may never know the answers to these questions. Yet if she was fired based on due process typical of human resources protocol, and did not change then she deserved to be let go.

Rev. Hoeke tells us we must continue conversations through anti-racism, inclusion, and implicit bias education:

Wendy Bell, like me, benefits from white privilege. Wendy Bell, like me, isn’t always conscious of the implicit biases and racist attitudes she has. Wendy Bell, like me, continually needs anti-racism or sensitivity training. My hope is that Bell takes advantage of this situation to grow and mature as an individual. (http://erikhoeke.blogspot.com/2016/03/firing-someone-doesnt-change-much.html)

If there is a willingness to be transformed, there is hope. As part of our own transformation, consider attending meetings or workshops in your area focusing on anti-racism, implicit bias, and inclusion. Here in Western Pennsylvania the Anti-Racism Team of the United Methodist Church is offering an Implicit Bias Workshop on May, 11, 2016. Join us.

 

 

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