An Open Letter written to the First Congregational Church of Woodstock by Young Adult General Synod Delegate Brittany LaFleur
Dear Church Family,
It’s me, Brittany, I have been involved in our church for most of my life. I starting coming to our church when I was 5 and have grown up knowing and appreciating the church family that I have. While attending our church regularly, I taught Sunday School for several rotations, and I have also been a young adult delegate for the Windham Association of the Connecticut Conference. I am glad to say how welcomed I feel in my congregation, but I don’t always feel as welcomed in the wider church.
In the wider church, there are times that my opinion is overlooked because I am young. There are times that young adults are told that we seem “very young” to have leadership positions within the church. I honestly think that “older folk” are trying to be accepting of “younger folk” when saying, “young people are the future”. Here’s the thing though, I am living right NOW. Young adults are living right now. We don’t need to wait until the FUTURE in order to have great ideas or to hold leadership positions. There is much more to me than my youth.. Inside of me I have a passion for justice, a love for children, and a desire to learn more about God and the world.
Should I be stripped of my ability to speak the truth because I am only 21? Church, we have an opportunity to make a greater impact. How are we going to deconstruct not only ageism, but sexism, racism, and ableism as well? We have made many leaps forward but our work is not done. We are all living in this time together.
The world we live in is not perfect. It is messy, complex, fragmented, violent and yet so wonderful. With God’s grace, we are given the strength to shine through darkness and uncover the light that I hope will someday be tangible for all. We are called to not only dip our toe into the river and feel the ripples of love, but we are called more fully to jump all the way in so that we can flow with the river and be one with God.
My hope is that in the coming months, there might be opportunities to engage in conversation together. Through Synod, I learned the value of conversation. Small group discussions that contain community expectations provide every person with an equal seat at the table (or floor). I envision discussion that not only helps us to engage in difficult topics, but a discussion that opens the doors to understanding.
You are a family that cares deeply for so much and so many. I am looking forward to entering in more conversation where we can talk about our passions, desires, and hopes for our congregation and the wider United Church of Christ. Thank you for your time, energy, and open-mindedness while reading this letter.
With so much love and appreciation,
Member of “The Hill Church”
Brittany LaFleur is a member of the First Congregational Church of Woodstock, CT.