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‘Transformation’ and ‘community’ are powerful words

Preaching at the Progressive Revival Service before Annual Meeting, the Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown, senior pastor at Plymouth UCC in Seattle, said “transformation and community are powerful, pregnant words, words used in seminary that sounded lofty, hopeful.”

Kelle Brown serves as lead pastor at Plymouth UCC in downtown Seattle.

She defined transformation as radical, thorough, dramatic change, metamorphosis and renewal.
“If we are to change in community, transformation and revival requires something significant in us. It requires us to function as one,” she said. “We have the body of Christ so we can be liberated, free, together.

“We use the body metaphor to tell us about who we are and who we should be, so all people are included and honored for who and what they are.” Kelle said. “Our work is partial. Eyes are not hands. Arms are not brains. The work we are doing is partial. When eyes try to be hands and arms try to be brains.”

She pointed out that many want to be free and liberated, but refuse to pay the cost.

Kelle Brown joins in singing the message with Plymouth's Soul Choir.

“Without community, there is no liberation, no freedom until all are transformed. It’s often hard to build community,” said Kelle. “It’s easy for people to forget to trust God, especially in people who do not look like them. We need to love our neighbors who are in cages south of the border, who are drinking water poisoned with lead or who do not believe as we believe.”

She encouraged seeing themselves as gifts of God.

“God is here waiting for us to catch the vision of community, to listen a while, to make room. We have the time and resources to see God in our midst,” Kelle said.

“Easter is about embodying transformation and resurrection,” she said. “If someone is left outside the doors, lonely or abused, we may be the body that remains alive, but it’s not enough to stay alive, stuck in survival mode.

“Trust is about more than survival. It’s about thriving,” she said. “Death is the only way to resurrection. Christ may not be recognized. The young will lead communities if they trust in God. How do we get in step with God? Certain people need to go forward to be in the church of Jesus Christ.

“We are all children of God. It’s disingenuous to convert people to our image, our kind of people,” Kelle said. “God is doing a new thing, making room for all people even when they fail and fall. There is room for all. God creates joy out of nothing. God is able to build the kindom of God.”

Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) she was called five years ago as lead pastor at Plymouth UCC. A graduate of Spelman College, she received a MDiv from Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry. She completed a doctor of ministry at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She works to dismantle racism and other forms of oppression. She serves on the PNC Justice Witness Ministries Committee.

For information, call 206-932-1918.




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