Who is Our Neighbor: Erik Hoeke

This summer we welcome our neighbors to come and share about their lives, work, passions, spirituality and inspire us about how we can serve “our neighbors as ourselves,” following what Jesus called the second greatest commandment (Leviticus 19:17-18, Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28). See speakers list below.

This past year, we’ve had the privilege of having a pastor-in-discernment in our midst. The Reverend Erik Hoeke came to Boston from western Pennsylvania to do some study at Boston College and has been a regular worshiper with us. I’ve been grateful to get to know him, and learn more about his discernment and studies in the process — as have some of you.

This coming Sunday, Erik will preach on “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” basing his text in how the Letter to the Hebrews encourages us to be good neighbors (Hebrews 12:14-15, 13:1-2), and following up on our call-and-response singing of Mr. Rogers theme song with Reverend Carrington Moore this past Sunday.

Erik will share with us about his year living and studying away from his familiar home and making a home here. He writes:

Key to this place becoming home for me has been the importance of “weak ties” with neighbors. “Weak ties” is a term coined by Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter, and it comprises the casual relationships we have in our lives: the people in our church, our weekly running club, the people who always ride the train at the same time as us, the barista at our corner coffee shop, other parents at our kids’ school, co-workers, etc. While close friendships, familial relationships, and intimate partners can be vital to social well-being, research suggests that “weak ties” relationships are equally important.

I’ll connect this all with the ministry of Mister Rogers. His popular children’s program exemplified the beauty of a neighborhood, where everyone–from the mail carrier and school teacher to musicians, factory workers, and bakers; to children of different backgrounds, children with disabilities, and children who teach a grandfatherly TV host how to pop and lock–was valued “exactly as they are” and considered a vital part to the neighborhood. Neighborly relationships sustain us, and I am grateful for the relationships I’ve found at United Parish, even if my time here in Brookline ultimately ends up being just one calendar year.

I warmly invite you to come to honor and learn from Erik and what he has learned amid our neighborliness.

In faith,

Summer Worship Series: Who is Our Neighbor?
August 6 — Reverend Erik Hoeke, visiting pastor
August 13 — Raana Mumtaz and Faiza Khan, Brookline Muslim Friends
August 20 — Matthew Kossack, Executive Director, Artbarn Community Theater
August 27 — Aba Taylor, Executive Director, Brookline Community Foundation
September 3 — Arlene Hill, Brookline Housing resident

Previous speakers:
July 2 — Tommy Vitolo, Massachusetts State Representative, 15th Norfolk
July 9 — Raul Fernandez, former Brookline Selectman
July 16 — Rachel Silverman and Erin Venkatesh, Thrifty Threads
July 23 —  United Parish Mental Health Group
July 30 — Reverend Carrington Moore, Executive Director, common cathedral

Image credit: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, fredrogers.org

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