This day was my first time at Sojourn Grace Collective. After several years of looking for a church, somewhere that would accept me, I felt hope that day that Sojo would finally be the answer to my prayers to find a church that would be perfect for me. Today, Sojo still gives me hope that people will love me for me and I can grow to be the best person I can be.
Too often, religion focuses on the “no.” Restrictions, rules, exclusion. Those who are in and those who are out. Righteousness and holiness and sin. Judgment.
But focusing on those concepts misses the point. Love God, and love your neighbors as yourself. Where’s the exclusion in that?
Sojo is genuinely the most honest, supportive, welcoming, and respectful church community I’ve ever been part of. It’s not just a handful of people, or the welcome committee, but everyone in the room. It’s a place that embraces the “yes.”
Visiting church to me has always felt like standing outside, watching a beautiful feast take place. I'd long to be inside, but could never get past the admission price.
I was, and am, unsure of where I stand on many issues of faith, and felt as though I needed to believe in the church's answers before entering. At Sojourn Grace, it's not that I was invited in, but that the table is set outside - no threshold to be crossed or admission to be paid.
My family and I have found a home in the grace of our SGC brothers and sisters, who assure us we are worthy and loved, just as we are.
Everything about our community reflects the best of humanity. None of us are perfect (by human standards) but we are made perfect because God deemed it so.
Beauty is what catches the eye, but with the church, the focus goes much, much deeper; this focus is on the heart, and it is the heart that you see when you walk in to Sojo.
From the greeters to the worship team, the gatherers, and even the coffee and dessert table laid out for everyone to partake in, the heart is what gets pulled and it is this of which we are able to accept and appreciate God’s perfect love.
Beauty means everything that God has created. Human beings were created in God’s image; therefore, not only was it perfect, it was beautiful.
Love is how this church started. The love that people had for Colby and Kate and the kids. How we started gathering at their house, to show we were there for them and we loved them. How you can see the love they have for all of us. This church is filled with love.
Since God is love — this church is filled with God.
Rising up from our comfy, safe places to stand and meet life right where it is has always been a difficult thing for me.
But when you come to a place where everyone around you is open — and just as hungry as you are for authenticity and genuine love — then rising up is still difficult, but all the more worth it.
The words "my tribe" to me signify the marriage of two other words: family and village.
Sojo, while being my family of choice, is something much bigger, more complex and varied — yet so organic and simple.
The village part is how we come together to turn an auditorium into a place of worship, feed each other, nurture the children, and — outside Sunday — how we lift each other up with our hopes and prayers.
It's that and so much more. I can't wait for Sunday!