Dorhauer offers Easter message of ‘resurrection hope’ amid fears, trauma
“Whatever trials, sufferings, tribulation or trauma you have endured, always remember the Easter joy of resurrection hope.”
United Church of Christ General Minister and President the Rev. John Dorhauer is sharing an Easter message of hope with the denomination. In the video recording, he noted the recent threats and attacks toward Community Church of Chesterland, Ohio, because of their sponsorship of drag show-themed events.
Dorhauer spoke of his experience and presence with the congregation after Community Church’s building “had Molotov cocktails thrown at the church in an attempt to burn it down.” Prior to Holy Week, he spent an evening listening to the concerns of congregants.
“And when one among them stood up and talked about the power of resurrection, of facing into the trauma, into the fear, into the anxiety, literally rejoicing in all circumstances as we remain focused on the promise of resurrection hope, I was deeply moved,” he said.
The church and its partners successfully held their drag event April 1, receiving support from other UCC members, clergy and local residents.
Watch the video or read the transcript below for the entirety of Dorhauer’s Easter message.
2023 Easter Message from the General Minister and President
Happy Easter, everybody. I want to take a moment and reflect with you as this Easter season rolls around on the power of resurrection hope in the midst of what can be some very troubling times.
As Paul wrote, “We do not grieve as those who have no hope.” And that’s the power of Easter and the power of resurrection.
A little over a week ago, Community Church of Chesterland, United Church of Christ, was vandalized, had Molotov cocktails thrown at the church in an attempt to burn it down. That didn’t happen. Luckily, everybody was safe. The church would soon be hosting an event at which men in drag would be appearing, and they became the target of violence.
A few days after the attack, I sat with the pastor in their office. And later that evening, with members of the church, expressing our solidarity — “our” being the United Church of Christ — with them, letting them know that we would hold them in prayer and be there to support them, whatever might come their way.
What I want to share with you is the hope that emerged in the evening of conversation that we had with one another. We acknowledged our trauma. We acknowledged our fear. We acknowledged our anger, but then reminded ourselves that Easter was fast approaching and that we were resurrection people who lived with hope.
The church spoke throughout the night of their ongoing commitment to the work of justice for the LGBTQIA+ community and, in particular, for trans youth and for those who dare to dress in drag. It was a wonderful evening.
And when one among them stood up and talked about the power of resurrection, of facing into the trauma, into the fear, into the anxiety, literally rejoicing in all circumstances as we remain focused on the promise of resurrection hope, I was deeply moved.
This is the power of our faith and, indeed, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Whatever trials, sufferings, tribulation or trauma you are or have endured, always remember the Easter joy of resurrection hope, and may it, as it did with the members of that church that night, center you and ground you, remove your despair, take away your fear and ground you, as always, in the certain hope of Christ’s resurrection.
Have a blessed and happy Easter this season. May joy abound in your life, and may you rejoice in all circumstances.
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President
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