Brooklyn Boro

The World Has Changed Forever…

November 22, 2021 By Pastor Gilford Monrose
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Over the past year, we have experienced one pandemic after another,  bringing both national and global attention to many of the issues the nation needs to address.  Before COVID-19, America’s atmosphere was permeated with gun violence, police misconduct, unemployment, civil unrest, political leadership failures, and more. So much is happening in our world, and the coronavirus and the lives it took have left people living in fear, uncertainty, and anxiety.   The world has changed forever, and the church has changed forever, whether you want to believe it or not.

Our health and social realities forced small businesses and even churches to close, and those not closed are struggling to survive. Schools are in a quandary – to open or not to open, further increasing the educational divide between poorer communities and those which are more affluent.  So many areas of our economy and way of life are no more. There is now a new normal.

Despite all these challenging realities, 2020 was the best year of my ministry, service to humanity, and transformational leadership. The greater the need, the greater the opportunity I had to serve. During the pandemic, the doors of my church were closed for about 12 months.  However, the services our church provides were still open as we continued to fulfill our mandate: serving our community with COVID-19 food relief and making deliveries to those who are medically high risk, supporting frontline workers and their families, and helping many cope with the hidden effects of working in our medical facilities and nursing homes.  From transit employees to workers in the food industry and other essential services, our church assiduously worked to spread hope by simply showing up in the places and at the moments when we were needed the most, including marching for social justice and against gun violence, providing comfort to hurting families, and supporting our first responders. Why?  Because the church truly is about people.

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I pray we embrace the correct framework about the actual role of the church in the life of the 21st century believer: it should never be in conflict or in competition with one’s relationship with God.  God didn’t close.  He didn’t stop being God because the doors of the church were closed.  As a matter of fact, the greater the need we saw, the greater we saw God being faithfully present.

The pandemic also presented the opportunity for the church to become the church God wants it to be.  We must now look deep within ourselves and rise to service the needs of all people in the name of Christ. Church is more than just entertainment, having large numbers of people attending services, or hearing messages of empowerment from the pulpit to make one feel good. The Church is the lifeline of any society, a unique place that should instill change in people’s lives.

What do we need now? We need to go back to God.  Let us put the church in its rightful place: focusing on being the moral voices of hope and highlighting visionary leaders to step forward to serve their cities as public servants and prophetic voices to bring a new level of professional, courageous, true transformative leadership that will help us rebound, rebuild, recover from the lingering effects of COVID-19 and racial injustice, and restore our relationship with God.

About Pastor Gilford Monrose

Pastor Gilford Monrose, spiritual leader of the Historic Mount Zion Church of God (Seventh Day) in East Flatbush, is also co-founder and president of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council. Known as the GodSquad, this council is a faith-based organization of clergy who work to defuse neighborhood tensions, and who serve as a liaison between their communities and law enforcement. Recently, The GodSquad established Clergy For Safe Cities (CSC), a national coalition to support clergy-based gun violence prevention initiatives. Pastor Gil also serves as Director of Faith-based and Clergy Initiatives in the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President since 2013, with a successful track record of bringing together faith leaders and clergy of diverse traditions to improve Brooklyn’s communities.

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