After a year with you as your pastor, I’ve been telling people that if I have been experiencing a “honeymoon” time with Trinity, it would probably have come to an end by now. But I still feel the same sense of excitement and joy in serving as I did when I first got here last year. Thank you to all of you for your support of our ministry at Trinity.
As I talked about at the Annual Meeting, we will need to journey together, make some changes, try and fail at a few things and relationships, and listen for God’s leading. I know that we will be called to respond in new ways to help our neighbors, but if we can continue working toward what we can realistically (or even a little unrealistically) do to help our neighbors and claim our voice as God’s open-hearted and open-minded people in the world, I know that we’ll be on the right track.
I write this column on the eve of making a trip to Houston, TX, for the rest of the week (February 20-24), to attend the Congregational Development Training Conference, Redeveloper section. This training will bring together bishops, directors for mission, and people who, like myself, were approved to be mission developers (pastors who begin new ministries) or redevelopers (pastors who help reimagine ministry in existing congregations) from all over the country.
Not only will I learn and be refreshed on many of the skills of being a mission redeveloper, I will also be meeting people and reconnecting with others who will be able to contribute to the well of ideas and inspirations from which we might draw together in our future ministry at Trinity. We are not a redevelopment congregation, since we are still self-sustaining, but most congregations, some might say every congregation, is in some stage of redevelopment as each community grows to meet the new and changing circumstances of its neighbors.
This time next month, we’ll be on the cusp of Holy Week, one of my favorite times in the Church calendar. We will have journeyed together during Lent, and enjoyed together our series of learning from our Theologian-in-Residence, Brach Jennings. I will also have begun to process with several of you and many others my learnings from Houston. I am excited to see what this new and fertile ground of learning may hold in store for us as an expansive, welcoming community in Christ.
However our community will look in the future, it will remain, I pray, a community formed by the cross of Christ, and under the steady and constant care of our loving God. And our community will evolve, I hope in equal measure, into the fullest extent of its resilience, a collective of each of our individual stories of resilience and strength through the challenges that God has seen each of us through over the course of our lives.
The God who has gotten us through as individuals will see us through as a community into whatever our future will hold. And our collective wisdom, refracted through the prism of Christ’s cross and resurrection, will be a light to our wider community and to ourselves at a time when it needs all the light it can get.
May God bless you each day!