Regarding the Supreme Court Decision & Worship from June 26
Multiple Supreme Court opinions have affected our congregation intensely. Worship on Sunday, June 26 was our first public response to some of these rulings. A recording of that worship can be found HERE.
A portion of that worship service was shared on a parishioner’s personal TikTok account and has “gone viral”, with nearly 70,000 engagements. At the time of this writing, fewer than 5 responses to this video were negative. To be clear, as a result of this weekend’s worship and subsequent sharing to social media accounts, we are experiencing an uptick in inquiries about our congregation and will continue to celebrate its Open & Affirming truths.
As you continue to process all that your heart is holding in light of your own life experiences, the lives of others, and recent court rulings, please know that Dakota and I are available for conversation. We encourage you to reach out to one another to process your responses to recent events and the options for engaging your faith amid changing times.
Additionally, please note that our national denomination, The United Church of Christ, has been vocal about healthcare and reproductive choice for decades. Their most recent statement can be found HERE.
Pastoral Reflection on the Overturn of Roe v Wade and Other Current Realities
Pastors Lori Bievenour and Dakota Roberts hold personal and professional values that make the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade problematic at best, devastating at worst. Both are exploring their own emotions and wrestling with how these developments affect their bodies, their futures, their relationships, their ministries. Lori & Dakota are available to process such realities with individuals and the wider community affiliated with St. Peter’s UCC, and they are committed to doing so with the Covenant of Welcome as their guide.
“A person cannot walk in the same river twice.” Attributed to various people, this quote sums up our response to recent Supreme Court rulings. Year to year, month to month, day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute, we change, and so does the environment in which we live.
We are not the same people we were on Friday, June 24. This congregation has been altered. The country in which we live is different. Someone said recently, “You know, the people of St. Peter’s have come and gone. The building has changed. The pastors have transitioned... but the spirit? The spirit of St. Peter’s is still the same.” We believe this to be true.
The spirit of St. Peter’s is one that is not afraid to grieve injustices as they creep into (or are thrust upon) our world. Tears and anger, just as much as joy and laughter, are expressions of faith. The spirit of St. Peter’s requires us to use words and name beliefs intentionally. Your pastors said “Abortion is healthcare” from the pulpit and often name their personal griefs (too many deaths due to gun violence, too many suicides, too much injustice directed at the queer community and especially trans people, and the list goes on...) and are met with support for their transparency, even if viewpoints differ. The Spirit of St. Peter’s does not assume that all of our members believe the same way; the Spirit of St. Peter’s does expect that people are honest with one another about how their faith informs their professional, political, and personal lives.
St. Peter’s UCC was founded in 1905 (different name, different building, different people – same spirit.) We were not the same congregation after every war that has taken place since then. We were not the same after every law that was passed or repealed. We were not the same after every election. We were not the same congregation then, and we are not the same people now... Not since Friday, June 24; not ever.
Our original location, in 1905, was 21st Street and
Central Avenue in Indianapolis
This is the beautiful Spirit of St. Peter’s into which we live, even when tears are streaming, voices are shouting and/or silenced, and everything seems different. It IS different, and The Sacred IS still present, at St. Peter’s, in the Supreme Court, in workplaces, schools, homes, and beyond. Let’s not pretend that we haven’t changed or that the river is still the same.
Our faith in a God who loves all makes it impossible to ignore the current climate of division and a dangerous melding of Church and State. The question is: what are YOU going to do about the changes in yourself and how will you engage the river?
One response: Acknowledge that something has changed. If you are struggling to recognize/identify a change in yourself or in others, in your faith community, or in the world around you, please be in touch. As Jesus (and Mary, and Noah, and Moses, and Esther, and so many others) did, we encourage faithful questions and begin in a spirit of inclusion... What are you feeling? How is your faith supporting and/or challenging you? Who can accompany you in your feelings and in your actions? Begin in the questions, St. Peter’s, and trust that the Spirit is guiding us all.
What are you feeling? How is your faith supporting and/or challenging you? Who can accompany you in your feelings and in your actions? Begin in the questions, St. Peter’s, and trust that the Spirit is guiding us all.
Lori Bievenour, lori at stpeterscarmel dot org, or 317-846-6882, x222
Dakota Roberts, dakota at stpeterscarmel dot org, or 317-846-6882, x223