As of last Sunday, Pastor Mark Booker, who was serving at the Church of the Cross which he helped to plant 11 years ago, will be shifting to serve as the senior minister at Park Street Church. In the blog below, UniteBoston’s Team Leader Kelly Fassett writes about how Pastor Mark serving in this role may open up new opportunities for Christian unity in our city.
I’ve known Pastor Mark Booker for quite a few years now, and have always been impressed by his humble candor and commitment to the gospel. We have served together on the team with Greater Things for Greater Boston, and though I wasn’t a member of his congregation, he has always been eager to offer insight for our work with UniteBoston. We have also had coffee together, chatting about topics such as rafting trips in the Southwest, cycling around the city, and how the Christian community has the unique opportunity to model unity within diversity in Jesus Christ.
Park Street Church is a historic congregation that has a strong tradition of missions both locally and worldwide, and it is exciting for me to see Pastor Mark stepping into this role. In an email that he sent to some local clergy about his transition to being the senior minister at Park Street Church, he describes his desire for the Church in Boston to be more united: “In all of this, I have prayed regularly for a deeper unity for the church in Boston to result, and I have prayed specifically against the devil’s attempts to divide, distort, or confuse. I invite you to join me in these prayers. I trust that we all long for the church in Boston to be unified and to stand ‘firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel’ (Phil 1.27). Please pray that this would become more of a reality, even through this transition.”
The sermon he preached at Park Street last Sunday was an exhortation that Christians might become a “Community of Love,” taken from Jesus’s words in John 13.34-35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In his sermon, Pastor Mark imagines what Boston could look like in the future if we as Christians live out this commandment to love one another and embrace one another across ethnic, denominational and socioeconomic lines. He imagines that as we do this, others would say, “They love one another so amazingly well. I’ve never seen anything like it!” and people would begin to ask, “Tell me more about your Jesus! Tell me more about where this comes from. I want to learn more about this man that you claim is God incarnate.”
Amen! Becoming a community of love takes incredible faith and labor to bridge historic divisions separating God’s people. It is my desire that the UniteBoston community be part of laying this groundwork and weaving together a tapestry of love, for the glory of God and the good of our city.