Bridges are meant to join together, as here in the “City of Bridges,” which brings together the north and south sides of the city. Also, there are many “unseen” bridges which serve to unite us, some of which are culture, gender, politics and especially the bridge which united us in Christian fellowship.
I was absolutely appalled to read the letter of Oct. 22 by Pastor Barnett stating he was not welcome to a luncheon hosed by a small group of Christian ministers. Apparently this small group was more comfortable behind a wall rather than to build a bridge of friendship. I have always been led to believe that ALL ministers have the same “boss” with their primary goal being to guide us in our Christian walk leading to eternal life.
Throughout Ottumwa, we see banners that proclaim “Welcome to Ottumwa.” Some welcome for this new pastor! Having lived in Ottumwa all of my life, I have always felt that an affront to any one of us was an affront to all. This treatment of the new pastor to our community is totally unacceptable and most certainly not representative of our city and our values. So, Pastor Barnett, on behalf of many, many others we say to you “Welcome to Ottumwa.”
To the “small” group that excluded Pastor Barnett, I would respectfully refer them to John 13:34 and hope therein they could find the tools to tear down the wall, pick up the pieces and built the “missing bridge.”
P.S. To the radio station that rescinded its offer for Pastor Barnett to pray and take on-air calls, I would refer them to the above scripture.