Forest Home Chapel
Saturday, September 22, 2018
United Methodist Church, Ithaca New York

Pastor's Blog


For my first blog at Forest Home Chapel (the Chapel) I thought it might be nice to share some of what I perceive to be core values we focus on and pray over, here.  It is not a big reveal because all you need to do is wander the website and you will see scripture embodied by this loving community of folks serving the “least of these” who deal with food insufficiency, or who need warm clothes, school supplies or even clean underwear from the elementary school nurse. 

You will see, “make a joyful noise” as we offer worship with community- out-loud prayer and song, drenched in the spirit of hope and love as we “pass the handshake of peace” in the very beginning of worship Sunday morning.

And you will witness, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” sprinkled everywhere in all we aim to do as a congregation of the UMC.  If you join us for worship, you will experience it, too.

So, I want to share that the Chapel is a historic, progressive United Methodist Church that welcomes all, worships sincerely, challenges the status quo, and seeks to transform the world through God's love. Drawing upon long-established rituals and spiritualities, the Chapel delights to be a place of safety, positive change within Christianity, within our denomination, within our own souls, and in the world.  We stand firmly in unity with all our brothers and sisters who yearn for our UMC Book of Discipline to be updated and remove the language that restricts persons of the LGBTQ+ community to be ordained and married in our sanctuaries by our clergy. We believe it is so harmful to have this institutional hurt a real thing.  We pray for God’s blessing to be poured out to all God’s people.  We also stand in resistance to all the ism’s that separate us – for with God, “all things are possible.”

The Chapel’s mission is based on its statement of call to deepen faith through worship and challenging study, to create engaged community through inclusiveness and caring, and to transform the world through active service and prophetic leadership.  We hold Micah 6:8 in our hearts as we ponder with the prophet: And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. 

This scripture gave rise to our mission statement:
To embrace God’s will for our community through education, compassion and justice.

The Chapel sits on the edge of Cornell University’s campus, and just a few miles from the Ithaca College campus. We have students, staff and faculty from both schools in our congregation and as part of our ministry we honor education.  We honor compassionate living as we reach out with love’s response to what has been given to us, and we seek justice for those whose justice seems a distant dream: we march in protests if we find the cause just – like a solution to school shooting and gun violence, like spiritual justice in our institution for the LGBTQ+ community, like ending racism and sexism. 

We collaborate on ideas, projects, ministries and even paint colors – the entire lower level was recently renovated and the congregation still stands!

We also aim to practice radical hospitality & inclusion so that when you are here, you feel loved. And we aim to build partnerships with local efforts to make the world a bit kinder, gentler or joy-filled because it speaks to the notion of beloved community, and we find ourselves committed to that ideal.

If you would like to explore the idea that says, Love the Lord your God with your passion, prayer, intelligence and energy, AND love others as you love yourself. Then I invite you to join us at the Chapel.  You will be most welcomed to bring your gifts and grace to a place where you can belong.  Then we send you out into the mission field to share what has been given to you.

These are some of the core values lived at Forest Home Chapel UMC, Ithaca, NY. Praise be to God!