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The fabric of our community

On Aug. 13, my heart was filled with hope after taking in the horror and death of the riots in Charlottesville the day before. On very short notice, people from all across our community came together in the town plaza. Clergy and laity from area churches, civic leaders, public servants and citizens representing a diverse collection of our community gathered to be present, to pray together and to encourage each other. I am so grateful to have been with you, and to have witnessed this town rallying together.

It came together swiftly, thanks to so many passing the word out through various forms of social media. It came together at all because so many in this community have invested life daily in building solid relationships throughout our area. I have been in Farmville only a brief time compared to some, but I am so grateful for the ongoing efforts to bridge what differences there may be among us, to find our common humanity and to stand together.

Our town has had its own hurt and pain-filled history over matters of race. No community can pretend that it is immune. But if ever there were a dose of medicine, a balm in Gilead if you will, the gathering of that Sunday night was what a broken world needed to see. I commend you to the ongoing task of knitting us together, person-to-person. As we did in the town plaza that night, let us make time to know one another and to pray with each other. Let us act daily to weave ourselves together, integrally linking our lives as neighbors and friends.

I cannot begin to express how deeply I cherish my fellow clergy and the bonds we have forged. Seeds of that Sunday gathering were sown in our prayer time together, as we intersect in our daily work, and in our times of shared community worship. Such bonds have helped us know each other, build trust with each other, honor each other and call upon the gifts God has given each one.

May God continue to interlace us all, and strengthen us to stand together. Each of us is part of that fabric. Each day, as a community, may we show this sacred handiwork of God to the world.

Rev. Michael Kendall is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. His email address is mkendall@farmvilleumc.org.