The Ministry Minute
“One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leapt out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world.”(William S. Burroughs - 1954)
Some of you may remember the 1988 National Republican Convention speech by George H.W. Bush (whom the Europeans would later call “Bush the 1st”), where he used the phrase “ a thousand points of light.” Now, while many thought this an original idea from his speech writers, the phrase was first used by William S. Burroughs in 1954. While the concept was amazing, I am not so sure there was ever any real long term carry-through with the idea. I think that the idea is still very appropriate for us today. Especially today. We have always been called to be “like Christ”, not be Christ but like Christ. We are to have the light of God shine through us. Much like the moon actually gets its light from the sun, we get our light from God. Each of us need only show the small amount of light we each have from God. We each do not have to fix all the problems and cure all the ills of the world. We each only need to show our little light. It is through being in a community of Christ that we can become the bright, warming, illuminating and powerful light of God. Imagine a dark room with only one candle. Now imagine the same room with 300 candles or a thousand candles. All held on high. The light and the warmth is over powering. It is asking too much for a single person to light that entire room. But as a community of believers each adding our own little light, we can be the light of God in that room and our world. Prayers that each of us may all show our little light.
These past few days, I have been delighted to read submissions that have begun trickling in from our first Holy Conversation on favorite hymns. If you haven’t heard already, Holy Conversations is an exciting congregation-wide process that will inquire who we are and where God is calling us. Through a series of progressive conversations, we will ask affirming questions of each other about our shared history, our current identity, and our future directions in ministry. These conversations will form a strategic plan that will inform us of our values, priorities, and current mission. From this, we will be able to discern the congregation’s needs in the way of resources, structure, and leadership.
A strategic planning process like this is long overdue in our congregation, and the interim time is the ideal time for it. Just like voting in our upcoming election this November, every voice matters for the future of our community, so we strongly encourage everyone to join the conversation!
We chose to talk about favorite hymns for our first Holy Conversation because it’s a fun and easy point of entry. We are encouraging each small group, each committee, each study group, each book group, each team, each coffee hour break out room, each meeting -- even each church family -- EVERYONE to spend some time having this Holy Conversation and fill out the form online during the month of August. (If you cannot find a conversation partner, you can complete it by yourself, but we do hope you make this Holy Conversation a conversation with another church member. Holy Conversations should be a process that also builds dialogue and community.) You can always have more than one conversation! These holy conversations will help us understand the congregation’s theology.
From polling our congregation, staff, and our intensive pastoral care efforts, we have concluded our congregation and staff is more than ready to begin this process of strategic planning. Even living through dual pandemics, together we have managed to stabilize the system both emotionally and financially, which is Step 1 on our Road Map of Interim Tasks. We are currently delving into Step 2, by learning about and practicing Holy Conversations with our first conversation, working on training congregational leaders, and creating an informational video about Holy Conversations you will soon see. We plan to begin Step 3 early fall with our second Holy Conversation on church history.
So although we may not be covering many geographic miles these days of shelter-in-place, thanks to you, our congregation is moving ahead at an encouraging pace.
Dear Church Family,
We continue to find ourselves in a liminal space, that is at a threshold between an ending and a new beginning. In our church context, this is true on many fronts - leadership transition, living in a time of viral pandemic, responding to increased racial discrimination awareness, and more.
Living in liminal space is disorienting and even frustrating and a bit scary, but it is also an opportunity for creativity, innovation, and exploration. A time to discover new and different ways of being and interacting in the world.
Clergy and staff are working hard to embrace this liminal time. To be responsive to the needs of our community and the ministry of the church, but in ways that hold true to our community’s “heart and soul” (reference from Sunday’s sermon). From our online worship services, to Zoom small groups, to an updated website (still in progress), and a new newsletter format. We are also increasing our presence on Facebook and Instagram (follow us!) as well as figuring out ways to connect with those who are not online.
We invite you to find ways that you can partner with us during this creative time. Whether it be a musical offering, helping lead worship, connecting on our In-House FB page, attending one of our many zoom events, or other new ways we haven't even thought of.
In closing, we love and miss every single one of you! We appreciate the support and love you offer us. We look forward to continuing to connect as a community in new, exciting, and meaningful ways.
Rev. Nikki Stahl