One of the realities of living in Kingston is the incredible diversity that shapes this city. When you walk the streets you can see a little of everything on any given day: students, tourists, retirees, young mothers with kids, the poor, the very rich, military, joggers, walkers, etc. You get the idea, this city is a collection of extremes! Bethel is no different. We are not a one dimensional church. We have a broad group of people representing every season of life and pretty much every economic level. Bethel does not pride itself in being a church of one kind, colour or taste but like Baskin and Robbins we have a number of “flavours” making up this body.
At times during Bethel’s history this diversity has created fracture lines and disrupted unity. We do have some healing wounds from learning to live together and thrive in our diversity. As I talk to people who come to Bethel I hear often the theme that Bethel is learning how to celebrate diversity, learning from each others’ differences, and becoming stronger, not weaker, because we are not all alike. There is a huge desire by many to see a better integration amongst the generations and to see how we can strengthen the ties between people of extreme differences.
Let me encourage you as you attend each week not to always move toward people who are like you, but to step out and embrace diversity. Look for people unlike yourself, and engage, pursue and learn from them. You may be surprised what they can teach you about being a Christ follower!