Most cornerstones tell time. In our case, it is the year 1919. In ours was placed a collection of symbols that say more. Among them:
The Methodist Discipline
The Richmond Times Dispatch
Histories of Grace and Clay Street Churches
Lists, rosters, and rolls of contributors and participants
Certificates and obligation notes
A picture of the garden that preceded the building
We were not a building first and a faith community second. It was the other way around, which is as precious a piece of our foundation as any. A handful of people with eyes wide open identified the faith frontier for their early twentieth century city. What they called the west end was missing something. And so they started to meet. They convened a Sunday School. They did what they did for God and neighborhood. The building that came to be merely sheltered what already was.
It is a legacy we aim to honor all these years later. Nearly a century has passed, and still, we are Christians. We seek to follow Christ. To follow Jesus necessitates a reverence and respect for the larger Judeo-Christian story. [Jesus was Jewish and our identity is not based on one-upmanship.] Following also entails movement, in both senses of the word.
We are United Methodists. This means a distinctive emphasis on grace and a heritage that compels us to pick up the Bible with a particular set of lenses. To Scripture, we bring Tradition, Reason, and Experience. We do not check out of the world to check in with God. We believe that listening for the word of God is exactly that–listening, for which we need to be in touch with the other influences upon our lives (sound and not so sound). We also need a community in which to practice what may be the most difficult skill and most complex art of all.
We are Christians. We are United Methodists. We are residents of Richmond.
We are a part of the United Methodist Virginia Conference.
Click here for the most recent news from the Virginia Conference