I am so eager to share this video with you all! It’s got me feeling all the feels of the past five years: the excitement, the uncertainty, the struggle, and ultimately the affirmation that something good and meaningful is happening here.
Five years ago, a small group of us shared a vision for a new ministry in Oakland. We wondered what would happen if we convened a place of peace for students, residents, and neighbors experiencing homelessness. We asked what sort of community would emerge if we not only affirmed LGBTQIA+ people but celebrated the ministry gifts of queer folks. What sort of impact would result if we followed the Holy Spirit into works of compassion and social justice?
Within a year, we had a bustling community dinner, a monthly worship service, a weekly small group, connections with Pitt and CMU students, relationships with neighbors who were living outside, and service work alongside residents and local organizations.
And then, just as it felt like we were getting our feet under us: a global pandemic. It was already challenging to start a new worshiping community in this era of declining religious affiliation, volunteerism, and charitable giving. Added to that was a deadly season of disconnection and disruption that sometimes had us wondering if we would survive - as individuals and as a group.
But we did more than survive. We grew and adapted in ways that we did not dream of in our early days. We did our best to follow the Holy Spirit and now we have Forest Church, a second monthly worship gathering where we meet the divine outdoors. Now we are a hybrid church with members spanning from Colorado to Costa Rica. Now we are advocates for justice, and Erin and I have followed that calling as co-founders of the LGBTQIA+ Affirming Ministries of Pittsburgh and the Antiracist Interfaith Leaders.
I’m grateful for this journey, with all its ups and downs. And I’m grateful for you: for everyone who is walking this road together or cheering The Commonwealth on from afar. Please keep reading below and take one action to help this faith community grow into its future.
Supporting The Commonwealth
There are a few ways you can boost this ministry. Would you consider taking one (or more!) of these steps?
Review. Everyone in the video did such a wonderful job describing their experience of The Commonwealth, and we wish we could have included even more. What would you say if given the chance? Post it as a review on our Facebook Page! If that feels corny, know that bowing to the Algorithm Overlords in this way will boost our online presence and help more people to find us.
Join. If you’ve been following The Commonwealth for a while but haven’t shown up at a gathering, now’s the time! Each month, we post all of our events to the website, the Facebook Page, and our Instagram. Don’t miss out any longer!
Give. Sign up as a sustaining supporter (or increase your support) to fund this ministry. In addition to funding our programs, your gifts keep Erin and Mike engaged in this work.