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Pastor Inspires Through Dedication to Service

By Eliza Drummond
For The Register-Guard
Published: Saturday, April 2, 2011 (reprinted here with permission)

 

In the sanctuary at Eugene First Christian Church are these words from Saint Teresa of Avila: “Christ has no body now on Earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; yours are the hands with which he is to bless ....”

Instead of mere decoration, these words are lived every day by the pastor of that congregation, Dan Bryant, whose 20 years of leadership will be celebrated Sunday. We celebrate what is possible when someone lives the spirit of Christ’s teachings to find healing within brokenness, unity within diversity, joy within grief, and power within weakness.

Dan’s dedication to service has been acknowledged by countless members of various faith communities. I share with you some of these words of appreciation:

From Arun Toké, editor of Skipping Stones magazine: “A decade ago, at a presentation, instead of announcing an event at the First Christian Church of Eugene, I said the event was at the First Interfaith Church of Eugene. How true it has been. Dan is a true disciple of Christ. Namaste to your compassionate heart and pure spirit.”

From Shevach Lambert, Lane Interfaith Alliance: “Spiritual leaders like Dan Bryant offer the finest example of the values of service, commitment to justice, spiritual integrity, and respectful, loving acceptance of all, including those whose spiritual path differs from the Christian faith he models so well.”

From Siri Kaur Khalsa-Harris, Eugene Sikh Dharma, Interfaith Prayer Service International: “For 91/2 years I’ve known Rev. Dan as an exceptionally compassionate human being and extraordinarily sensitive Christian. As a Sikh I was taught, ‘If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.’ Rev. Dan lives this. With great wisdom, he’s always listened and served the ‘least among us,’ and inspires all around him to do the same.”

From Joan Bayliss and Irwin Noparstak: “On a rainy spring night in 1994, a crowd of hundreds of community supporters organized by Dan Bryant stood in the parking lot of Temple Beth Israel on Portland Street after the synagogue was shot. Dan apologized for the anti-Semitism that Christianity had perpetuated for 1,900 years. We cried. We had never heard a Christian — let alone a pastor — do this publicly. Our lives were changed by Dan that night. He continues to inspire and move us.”

From Bill Harris, Baha’i faith and Interfaith Prayer Service Board member: “The Baha’i sacred writings caution: ‘Beware, O people of Bahá, lest ye walk in the ways of them whose words differ from their deeds.’ All the ‘deeds’ of Rev. Dan Bryant known to me accurately reflect the teachings of his Lord and master, Jesus of Nazareth.”

We will continue to be blessed by Rev. Dan Bryant, who lives what the Lord requires of us: “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8.)

Dan's sermon from Sunday, 4/3/11

 

Eliza Drummond is a member of First Christian Church. This column is coordinated by Lane Interfaith Alliance to offer inspiration, share personal spiritual experiences and bring a deeper understanding of individual faith perspectives with the intention of blessing our community and the world. For information, visit www.laneinterfaithalliance.org or call 541-344-0430.

 


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