Some of you may have met or read about Jason McGill, the new Executive Director of Northwest Youth Services. Jason has experience as a youth support professional both here in Washington state, and where he grew up on the east coast. He brings a dynamic, passionate, and dedicated approach to a challenging role: leading Northwest Youth Services in the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of institutional changes, and in the midst of the on-going crisis of youth homelessness in our community. I’m excited to hear Jason share from his life experience and from what he’s learned at the helm of such a wonderful organization.
I expect to hear Good News from him- not just the good news that comes from the collaboration between such close friends as Northwest Youth Services and First Congregational, but also the Good News of the Gospel: an invitation into greater presence, greater solidarity, and greater love.
I hope you will join me in an opportunity to hear from Jason on Sunday, either live at 10am in-person or on Facebook, or catching the video later on when you have a moment. But I hope you will also join me in taking seriously the voices and experience of those on the margins this Sunday, and every day. Part of the gift of who we are as First Congregational is that many of us work in non-profits, and many more of us have friends, colleagues and families in non-profits. We should return to the Gospels over and over again, but Gospels mean Good News and so we should also know there’s good news to hear in our organizations and communities.
Like the Gospels, this Good News is sometimes not Easy News. Maybe we will hear stories from our teachers about students making strides in learning in really challenging circumstances, but we also might hear stories about students who come to school hungry, or experience violence in their homes. Maybe we’ll hear good news from our friends at The Ground Floor about young people getting housing, but we’ll also hear about other young people who experience harassment or abuse in the midst of their homelessness. We’ll hear the voice of dedicated professionals, but we also hear their voices too-often exhausted by over-full caseloads and underpaying, underfunded institutions.
The Good News is larger than these organizations, and older than these organizations. The call of the Gospel (literally ‘good news’) is to transform the world, into a place where The Ground Floor has everything it needs, except for guests, because all young people on the margins find themselves with resources, with community, with support. I believe it will take a wholesale transformation of who we are and how we live together. But I also believe the church, and our non-profit friends, are growing more and more ready.
May it be so,