Eugene Peterson on a local church (The Pastor, p. 40):

“Congregation is composed of people, who, upon entering a church, leave behind what people on the street name or call them. A church can never be reduced to a place where goods and services are exchanged. It must never be a place where a person is labeled. It can never be a place where gossip of perpetuated. Before anything else, it is a place where a person is named and greeted, whether implicitly or explicitly, in Jesus’s name. A place where dignity is conferred.”

Immediately this brought two pastors to my mind, Dr. Jeff Garner in San Francisco and my pastor here in Portland, Ken Garrett. Both pastor in parts of major cities where the “least of these” come every Sunday to worship and they have pastored the church in such a way that these people are treated equally. These are churches where dignity is conferred.

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