Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Prayer for Health and Healthcare

A Message from Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins 

There is a lot of angst in our country these days. We are often divided, suspicious, angry, and even afraid. In all of this confusion, we need to be kind to ourselves, and we must try to be respectful of one another. 

We have witnessed epidemics, wars, natural disasters, Depressions and Recessions, periods of social unrest, and we have recovered after each difficult time; likewise, we will get through the difficulties of this present time. I know that God is with us, and luckily, we have one another. I also know that the power of prayer gives us strength, courage, hope, and a peace that circumstances cannot take from us. So, we will continue to gather weekly for worship and prayer, to affirm possibilities, to encourage one another, and to praise the loving Power that holds each of us in good times and in challenging times. As we so often declare, "all shall be well." Things may not be easy nor quickly resolved, but ultimately, "all shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

As our elected officials argue about the best direction to take our country, as our social and democratic institutions are tested and tried, and as we the people sort out our common values and dreams, we will find that prayer, worship, and shared community can sustain us. I hope you will commit to praying with me for the highest Good of all. 

One of the issues that we hear a lot about every day is access to healthcare in this country. Some want a single payer, universal system that assures care for everyone. Others believe that free market competition will eventually provide the best opportunities. These philosophical differences will not soon be reconciled but we must acknowledge that all people deserve the best possible care and many are afraid of losing the care they currently have. Our politicians will try to come to some resolution on the matter, and whatever they work out is unlikely to be perfect, but come what may, we can hope and pray and comfort one another. Let's do just that.

Today, let us pray for the health of the people of our country, and for healthy ways of resolving our conflicts, and for all people to have their needs adequately met from cradle to grave. I believe in the power of prayer. And so, let us pray:
God of abundant and endless life,
   We ask you to heal the suspicions and divisions, fears and hatreds in our wounded nation. We ask you to fill our hearts with hope and peace. We ask you to give us the wisdom, compassion, and courage to seek, to demand, and to expect equal opportunity, equal protection, and equal rights for all. And as the political pendulum swings left and right, help us to listen to the "better angels of our nature" and let us know that ultimately, all will be well.
   Today, especially, we pray for those who need medical care, those who are afraid of losing access to medical care, and for those who have been entrusted to work on our behalf to promote the general welfare. We can't know how exactly things will unfold in the days ahead, but we can know that no matter what, you are always with us and where you are, all good is possible. 
   We invite your blessings into our lives, Holy One. Give us grace equal to every need and in your great mercy, grant us peace. Amen. 

An Open Pastoral Letter to Transgender Members of the US Armed Forces

An Open Pastoral Letter to Transgender 
Members  of the US Armed Forces
by Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins 

I believe we are called to work for peace and justice in the world. That being true, it is also true that nations must have defensive capabilities. Perhaps we rush to war too often, but our government is challenged to provide for the common defense. For decades now, service in the  U.S. military has not been conscripted, but rather, has been completely voluntary. For a variety of reasons, many people choose to spend a number of years ready to defend their country if called upon to do so. Such service takes courage and discipline, and those who risk so much for so many deserve our respect and our best wishes. 

Today, the pastoral leaders of the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale wish to take a moment to thank all members of the Armed Forces, and to celebrate in particularTransgender members of the branches of the U.S. military. Transgender people continue to be misunderstood, vilified, feared, and targeted, and yet as many as 15,000 Transgender service people work to keep our country safe. Transgender people who serve, like gays and lesbians, women, and people of color at various times in our history, have had to fight for the right to serve and defend a country that didn't always show them the respect as individuals they deserved. And still, love of country and devotion to what it could be prevailed and LGBT people and other minorities have served with distinction, proving that what's in the heart is mightier than the various prejudices that try to hold us back.

Transgender service people, we at the Sunshine Cathedral want you to know that you are in our hearts today, we are praying for you, we appreciate and respect you, and we will speak out for you whenever you are being attacked, no matter who may be launching the attacks. You are heroes and we bless you for your courageous and faithful service. You bravely defend us. We will try, now, to stand faithfully with you. 

Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Senior Minister 

"As a veteran I find it appalling that the current Commander-In-Chief of the United States of America would seek to ostracize, discriminate against, or prevent anyone, especially those of the Transgender Community who willingly volunteered, from serving in the Armed Forces.  They, like many others raised their right hand and affirmed to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States...So help me God.' With God's help and protection, let our Transgender brothers and sisters be an example of what it means to serve with pride, honor and dignity." Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin, Executive Minister

"I honor, affirm, and recognize the humanity of all Trans* people serving in the U.S. military. I see you. I will fight for you.  I will not accept the continued erosion of your rights." Rev. Anne Atwell, Minister of Connections 

"The thousands of transgender servicemembers bravely and honorably serving their country today need to know that in spite of the President's ugly words and regressive policy decision, millions of Americans recognize the value of their lives are grateful for their sacrifice and that of their families for this country." Rev. Ty Bradley, Minister of Social Justice