We gather for worship on Zoom on the first Monday of the month at 5:30 PST/8:30 EST
It was such a joy to meet up in person for Pride weekend in Bellingham 2022! We did a hymn sing and potluck in the park (YUM!), carried our church's banner in the Pride Parade, and gathered afterwards for Wild Church in Maritime Heritage Park. Lots of us met in person that weekend for the first time! It was a beautiful time of proclaiming a loving, Queer God who is Proud of us! ♡
Rev. Rachael Weasley (she/her) is the Pastor and Church Planter of Community of Hope. She studied music history and theory at Oberlin College, taught in a Montessori school, then did the Master of Divinity degree at Chicago Theological Seminary. Before planting Community of Hope, she did community organizing, music ministry, lived in a cooperative house, and wrote two albums of contemplative songs. She is the first out, queer, licensed minister in the Pacific Northwest Conference of Mennonite Church, USA. She lives with her partner Davi (they/them), their kiddo Zeke (he/him), and their cat Rutabaga (she/her), in Bellingham, WA.
Pastor Rachael loves getting Zoom coffee with folks (or in-person coffee if you're in town!) Email her here.
We are a queer church, but not all of us are queer. As a community we embody a queer identity: doing church in a different way, questioning categories and looking at the world through a queer lens. Some of us are parents of queer children, some of us are queer folks working in ministry settings, some of us are seeking a place to worship that is feminist and trans-inclusive. We recognize that Queer Theology is good news for everyone, including people who are not queer!
Wild Church! Since our church started during the pandemic, our in-person gatherings are rare, and (so far) outdoors. Worshiping outside means connecting with God through nature. It means we're not in control of the temperature or the precipitation; it means letting go. The center of Wild Church is mindfulness time, to scatter and wander. This photo is an earth altar we created together.
We held a Holy Saturday contemplative service on Zoom in spring 2022. Holy Saturday is the day in between Good Friday and Easter. It's an in-between day; we've marked the crucifixion of Jesus and haven't yet celebrated resurrection. This service was an opportunity to lean into the queerness of that liminality; to offer space for lament; and hold together the tension between grief and hope.
Queer Theology Sunday School!
Being queer doesn't make anyone an expert in things like queer theology, queer Biblical hermeneutics, or navigating queer healing from church trauma. That's why we started hosting Queer Theology Sunday School, on Zoom every few months. Open to the wider church, we hope that it will equip queer folks and allies across the continent to draw connections between identity and spirituality, and contribute to a more joyous and liberated future for queer folks and those who love us!
We often spend time with an image during worship, and ask ourselves, "What if God looked like this?" This photo of a Black Lives Matter protest, taken by one of our community members, is one of the images we've used to ask this question. Does God look like nonviolent direct action? Does nonviolent direct action look like God?
Our first-ever church event was a Hold the Line grassroots training in how ordinary people could organize to ensure a fair, democratic and nonviolent election process in November 2020.
Mennonites are joining in solidarity with the Apache people to protect the sacred land of Oak Flat, and to uproot the racist theological legacies of colonialism from our Christian tradition. The Doctrine of Discovery still affects our liturgies, hymns, church traditions, and secular laws today. Learn more about Oak Flat solidarity here.
Queers the Word! This year during the season of Lent (40 days leading up to Easter Sunday), we experimented with the voice channel on our church Discord server to discuss Queers the Word: a 40-day Devotional for LGBTQ+ Christians. In classic Community of Hope fashion, we had several straight and cis-gendered community members using this devotional too! We read a Bible passage together, paused for moments of silence, and shared the ways our lives connect with the Biblical interpretation. It was a real blessing to dive into this resource in inclusive, affirming interpretation of Scripture!
Queering the Holidays! We got started on Discord as a way to be able to support each other in-time with group texting for prayer requests and accompaniment during the holidays. We gathered before Thanksgiving to set intentions, share hopes, and dream about how to decolonize our home holiday traditions.
Community of Hope's vision is to center queer theology, work together for structural justice, and nurture real friendships and family of choice.
We worship on Zoom! Since we started during the pandemic, the vast majority of our gatherings are online. We have community members joining us from across the country! The folks on our Leadership Team are in Oregon, Indiana, Wisconsin, California... Pastor Rachael and a handful of other folks live in the Bellingham area in northwest Washington state, but that's it! We are a church with a robust Zoom Diaspora and are committed to continuing to offer online church community!
Blue Christmas! Our first church event was in fall 2020, so we don't have many traditions yet! But one thing we've done twice so far is Blue Christmas. In mid-December, we gather for music, prayer, and silence, to hold space for one another's grief and the other complicated feelings that often arise around the holidays.
Community of Hope is connected with Mennonite Church USA, but you don't have to be Mennonite to get involved with Community of Hope! Mennonites are a historic peace church with a huge range of diversity of theology, cultural traditions, languages and nationalities. We are Mennonite because of the values of community, simplicity, nonviolence, relative lack of hierarchy, and the belief that all members of the church, not just clergy, can interpret the Bible and offer gifts of leadership.