A Message from Rev. Suzelle 

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to hear the wisdom of an extraordinary Chicago woman named Rasheeda Graham-Washington. She’s a licensed minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, and she’s also the force behind Live Café — a restaurant that brings together people from the wealthy suburb of Oak Park and the poor neighborhood of Austin for intentional conversation and community-building.

In describing the theology that drives her work, Rasheeda said, “God has placed so many gifts inside each of us — more gifts than we can possibly imagine. But some of those gifts actually belong to someone else. We are carrying each other’s gifts. How do we get others to give us the gifts they have that are for us? And how do we get the gifts we have that are theirs to them?” She went on to say that each one of us is like a work of art – a canvas full of blues and greens and yellows and violets, a canvas full of shapes and textures. But no matter how we try, our own brushwork and colors will never complete us. To fully realize the beauty, we are meant to be, we have to bump up against each other, and smear some of our colors and textures on each other. To be whole, to access the gifts you are carrying for me — the colors that will complete my canvas, and vice versa, we must truly encounter one another, and we must encounter people who are very different from us. How to do this? If we long to be whole, we will find a way.

We Are Whole by Beth Lefever
We are whole, even in the broken places, even where it hurts.
We are whole, even in the broken places, the places where fear impedes our full engagement with life; where self-doubt corrupts our self-love; where shame makes our faces hot and our souls cold.
We are whole, even in those places where perfectionism blunts the joy of full immersion into person, place, activity; where “good enough” does not reside except in our silent longings; where our gaps must be fast-filled with substance, accomplishment, or frenzied activity lest they gape open and disgust.
We are whole where we would doubt our own goodness, richness, fullness and depth, where we would doubt our own significance, our own profoundness.
We are whole, even in our fragility; even where we feel fragmented, alone, insubstantial, insufficient.
We are whole, even as we are in process, even as we stumble, even as we pick ourselves up again, for we are whole. We are whole.

Blessings to you,


The Rev. Suzelle Lynch, Minister