A Letter to Memphis

Posted by on Aug 7, 2020 in Everything In Between | 12 Comments
A Letter to Memphis

Memphis. We’ve been gone for two years. Thanks to the wonder of voice memo, I’m “writing” this as I drive back to the 901. Let’s just call this blog verbal processing!

How can you miss a city? Who is “Memphis”? Memphis is every person I’ve interacted with during the 29 years I’ve called Memphis home. Memphis is the people I’ve fallen in love with as we had the privilege to serve in the city. Memphis is the other pastors and leaders of every race, denomination, and zip code who we stand shoulder to shoulder with to chase away the darkness. Memphis is the complicated combination of the beautiful grit and grind and the pain of our city’s tragic past. The black eye of Dr. King’s assassination in our streets is not what God wants this city to be remembered for. He has a better way.

God’s writing a new story that we want to be a part of. And as we absorbed the events of 2020 from Cleveland, we longed for the Lord to let us return our little light, and our commitment to be known by love, to the people of this city. We’re so grateful He spoke!

On a personal level, as we come back to the city we love, I do have a little apprehension. I think of the way Satan likes to work. Silence, half-truths and division are three of his favorite weapons. In relationships, we often fill in gaps of silence with distrust. We take conjecture and speculation and create a new narrative that divides. It’s the same familiar formula that destroys friendships, families, cities, and countries. We assume the worst about each other and then build our walls.

We’re coming back to start One City Church. We can’t shake from our hearts the role that we believe the church should have in the city’s healing. There are other jobs out there to pay the bills, but our calling is to pastor. So, we start over in faith. We’re also launching Race for Reconciliation – both a local race and a national education platform, designed to gather every sector of the city together to bring healing from the past, honor in the present, and hope for the future. We want Memphis to be the birthplace for a movement we pray helps cities across America.

Whether you ever set foot in One City Church or not, we’re excited to link arms with the people of Memphis again. It will take all of us to overcome some of our city’s struggles, but I think of the people who have labored in this city in churches, nonprofits, schools, and businesses to make a difference. We’re looking forward to being back in the trenches with you!

If you see me, please come say hi. Our only desire is to love well.


12 Comments

  1. Ann Hobbs
    August 7, 2020

    Welcome home! We are so glad you are back. Super excited to be a part of One City Church and Race4Reconciliation. ❤🙌

    Reply
  2. Anna Hellman
    August 7, 2020

    Welcome back, Karin!!!
    God bless your desires to lead from a biblical perspective!
    I am in Chronological bible training with Iva May, and it is very clear God’s way is the only way!
    Prayers for strength.
    Anna Hellman
    .

    Reply
  3. Kelly Howe
    August 7, 2020

    WELCOME HOME!!!!!

    Reply
  4. Carolyn
    August 7, 2020

    Love this! Love YOU! Thank you for your words of wisdom. “…we often fill in gaps of silence with distrust. We take conjecture and speculation and create a new narrative that divides.” SHAZAM!

    Reply
  5. Graham & Brittany Murray & Sylvia Gelineau
    August 7, 2020

    THE CONLEE’S ARE HEADED HOME!!! We are so excited to have you both back home in Memphis. Prayers for safe travels!!

    Reply
  6. Gayle
    August 7, 2020

    Tim and I believe in the Conlee’s call to Memphis and we will be praying and cheering you on!!! We will be in touch soon!♥️

    Reply
    • karinconlee
      August 7, 2020

      We love you!!! Thanks for all of the ways you held us up through the journey. Grateful for your continued prayers and your heart for God and this city.

      Reply
  7. Tina Spencer
    August 7, 2020

    Mark and I believe in your call to Memphis! Can’t wait to see Gods glory reflected in and through both of your ministries in Memphis once again!!
    Tina Spencer

    Reply
  8. Natalie
    August 7, 2020

    Prayers for the road ahead, for light to cast out fear and darkness in every direction. May the enemy be silenced by our praise. You both are so gifted at shining light, building Bridges of honesty, hope Restoration & healing. Your hearts have always reflected His Kindness, Goodness and Mercy to me. Glad to hear this news and a grand Welcome home! May healing reach the Great chasms of Memphis city’s hollowed ground, rippling out to Her streets, suburbs and beyond. Hope does not disappoint, but believes. We have great hope!

    Reply
  9. Mia
    August 7, 2020

    Finally …. Welcome HOME ❤️

    Reply
  10. Kate
    August 7, 2020

    Welcome Home!! So grateful the fathers plan was for y’all to come back here to Memphis! I can’t wait to see what he has in store❤️❤️ And I can’t wait to be a part of it!

    Reply
  11. Aubrey
    August 9, 2020

    Best news i’ve heard in a while!!! I can’t wait to hear and see what’s in store for you and our city! Prayers for the road ahead for all!!!

    Reply

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