I'm feeling sort of sad. I am probably also feeling sort of angry, but I'm really trying HARD not to feel judgemental.
Our congregation partners with a very special non-profit organization in our community that works with youth and young adults with disabilities. Most of their clients have developmental delays combined with various physical and medical challenges. It is a fantastic organization, and although there are growing pains as our partnership continually evolves we love having them in our building, and, in fact, they probably use "our" building more than "we" do. It is a purely "secular" organization in that other than our arrangement of space-sharing, there are no religious programs or ties. (I do hope to someday help provide a spiritual enrichment ministry to these families, but that's another post for another day.)
The group runs a summer day camp, and all summer long they have been working diligently with two daughters of the church (one a new special ed teacher and the other a choral instructor, both of them sisters to each other and a high school brother with autism) to prepare for a summer's-end musical. The performance is here in our sanctuary Wednesday night, and I couldn't be more thrilled!!!
The mother of the daughters and son just mentioned came to me after the youth had all been picked up yesterday and asked, "What do Jehovah's Witnesses believe?" I was caught off-guard and had to admit that I didn't know too much about them. My grandfather's third wife (again, another post for another day - - or maybe not!) was a sort-of Jehovah's Witness. I mean, she didn't practice much, but she did go to Ohio to be with her family, or more correctly, away from ours and our celebrations at Christmas. That was about all I knew.
Well, it turns out that the leading lady in the musical is a Jehovah's Witness. Her mother decided to pull her from the production when she found out it was being performed in our sanctuary. She was LIVID to find out that her daughter had been practicing there for the last couple of weeks. Apparently it had taken her a few years to finally become comfortable enough with the location of the day camp inside our church building to even let her daughter come participate. In years past she wouldn't even enroll her because they would have to step through our doors.
The daughter was heart-broken to find out she wouldn't be performing. You could just hear her crying throughout the building. It was so sad.
Again, I'm trying to be understanding. I'm trying not to be judgemental. I read a little about Jehovah's Witnesses yesterday and found though that they don't want their children to be "corrupted" by other false religions and this prevents them from even walking into churches of other faiths. I'm impressed that the mom let her daughter come this far after reading what I did, but I'm still extremely puzzled, a little offended, and deeply saddened that this is the state of ecumenical affairs with this particular tradition. Have we not come further than this?