Sundays at Harvard-Epworth

Communion Service at 9:00 AM

Christian Education at 10:00 AM

Worship Service AT 11:00 AM IN-PERSON AND on Youtube

A Message from Rev. Barbara Lemmel

Thanks to Bishop Peggy Johnson’s June email for lifting up this Methodist history. 

“At 4:00 in the afternoon I submitted to be more vile and proclaim in the highways the glad tidings of salvation…”

This is a journal entry by the young John Wesley on April 2, 1739.  Formally trained as an Anglican priest, it took some urging from his friend George Whitefield to convince Wesley that it was OK to preach the word of God outdoors.  The entry continues, “…speaking from a little eminence in the ground adjoining to the city to about three thousand people.”
At that open-air service Wesley preached to the poor who weren’t allowed into church buildings because they couldn’t afford pew fees.  In the months and years that followed, his ministry extended to all aspects of English society, including folks who were addicted, who were enslaved, who were in prison and on death row, who were unhoused.  Once Wesley made the choice to become “more vile” he discovered that there were thousands outside the Anglican cathedrals who were hungry for the good news and in need of social services that Wesley’s Methodist movement provided.
Today is June 1, the beginning of Pride month in our country. Even as we recognize and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community, this is also a time for us to recognize that for these same persons, many church doors have been slammed shut. Far too often, the scriptures have been used to justify this exclusion and hatred, and LGBTQ+ lives have been lost to violence, to despair, to suicide.
Harvard-Epworth Church has a long and proud history of LGBTQ+ inclusion, standing in marked contrast to our denomination’s officially exclusive stance.  As our social understanding of sexuality and gender continues to evolve, we seek today to grow in understanding and practices that offer a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place for folks across the gender diversity spectrum.  We’ll engage Pride month in a number of ways:
  • Folks from Harvard-Epworth are planning to attend the Boston Pride for the People Parade on June 10.   Contact Pastors Barb or Mitch if you want to join — we’ll email out details about location and time later this week.
  • We’ll continue our church-wide discussion of gender diversity at Harvard-Epworth on June 18, exploring what it means to enter into allyship with LGBTQ+ folks.
  • Our Mission Moment at the end of the month will highlight an LGBTQ+ organization for second-mile giving. 
When Wesley “submitted to be more vile,” it was in the 18th-century sense of “without worldly honor or estate,.”  Hmmm… that is the precise place Jesus always calls disciples to do their most radical and world-changing work.  I pray all of us at Harvard-Epworth might all submit to a a little untamed vileness in ministry in the months and years to come.