I was meeting with a group of pastors the other day and we were sharing things that were going on in our own congregations. Some folks were talking about summer picnics that were coming up, others were talking about big plans for rally day, and even more were talking about some hard conversations that were being had. It was a time to commiserate. We shared our highs and lows and offered mutual support.
When it came time for me to share, I said, “Well, we have been talking about abortion.” Immediately someone said, “Oh, I’m sorry.” “Don’t be sorry,” I said. It was a great conversation. They automatically assumed that it was a great conversation because everyone involved must have been of the same political persuasion. And I said, “Well I don’t think so. We had a whole host of opinions present around the table and I didn’t ask to see their voter registration as they walked in.”
I went on to explain that the reason why I felt the conversation was so good was that we centered our conversation around our relationships with each other. We value our friendships and our community above any sort of stance. We don’t have to agree with each other to respect each other. This led to us sharing personal stories and long held core memories that we have held onto for so long. We know so much more about each other, and I think we understand each other more than we could have before this conversation.
This turned out to be an exercise in building resilient community. In every community, conflict will arise. Most of us cringe when we hear that word. But conflict does not have to be negative. It can be the point of contact that calls us into deeper community and a fuller expression of who we are.
Friends, can you imagine what we can accomplish together? We can take on big conversations like this one and come out on the other end feeling closer to each other, then we stand a fighting chance when seemingly small potatoes come around.
Promise me something: know that this is a place where we can have hard conversations. If something happening here doesn’t sit right with you pray about it first and then come and talk to me or another leader of this congregation. I promise that I will respect and love you even if we find that we don’t agree on something. Most of the time we will find out that we have a problem of communication that can be easily remedied.
Thank you for being a part of this body of Christ here at Holy Spirit. I am impressed by your gifts for ministry and the ways that you share yourselves with each other in community. Keep up the good work!
Join us on September 11th for Rally Day and Pr. Gretchen’s Installation. This will be a full day as we kick off the program year with a service activity, luncheon, and installation celebration. We hope that all of you can stay for the day’s events. For those of you unable to assist with care kit preparation, you are invited to head down to the Fellowship Hall for a beverage and conversation. It would be helpful to us if you would sign up on the sheet located on the same bulletin board that has the flower sign ups. We would just like to get a semi-accurate headcount for preparing food. All times following worship are estimates. We will proceed to the next activity as we finish each one.
10:30 Care Kit Service Project
12:15 Installation Service
12:30 Go in Peace!
What a day! On July 17th this congregation surprised me with your extravagant generosity. Knowing that we are in a bit of a stewardship summer slump, you showed up. A pleasant Sunday morning was made even more pleasant by your fellowship, good humor, and a touch of competition at the Tanzanian Style Auction. The time and talent you put into those auction items was a true blessing to us. It was so fun to watch you bid on a basket of cookies only to take one out for a quick snack and send the rest up to the auction block again. This was a Sunday of extravagant generosity.
It was a needed shot in the arm. Those of us who are in leadership positions have seen this summer financial slump rearing its ugly head. It was brought on by some unexpected expenses such as a month of paying for 2 pastor’s salaries to finish up the contract with our interim pastor, the summer vaca dry spell, and some not so normal inflation.
The interesting thing about this is that this little blip has not matched the energy of what is happening in our community. We have been welcoming new members, and meetings have been taking place getting fall activities in order. Momentum is building and we seem to be having a good time. At least I am having a good time. I hope you are too!
We are including a summer stewardship envelope in this month’s newsletter. We don’t expect that everyone will be able to give. Many of you are giving generously already and we thank you so much. But some of us, such as myself, realize that we have a bit of make up to do for the Sundays we have missed and would have been putting in our offerings. This is just a friendly reminder.
I want to take a moment and say thank you to those of you who have made some generous contributions in this last month. As your pastor I do not give myself access to giving records, but I do get a report like the rest of you on our overall offerings. We are well on our way to closing the deficit gap. That is exciting. It means that we can charge full steam ahead, with mission, worship, service, and faith formation. It means that we are leading with trust rather than fear, heart rather than anxiety. That is so good! What an exciting time to be with the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit will celebrate “God’s Work, Our Hands” on Sunday September 11.
Pack a kit for Lutheran World Relief! A list of items needed for each kit will be available to complete either a SCHOOL kit or a PERSONAL CARE kit, Rally Day is September 11, but you will find baskets to place your completed school kits in the narthex starting August 1. You may make as many kits as you want. If you are making a school kit, pick up a backpack to place the items inside.
We will be making health kits in person on September 11th. Please bring items for the health kits and place in the baskets prior to September 11th. Thank you for all you do to make this outreach a success!
Social Ministry Team
You may have noticed that we didn’t have a Vacation Bible School this year. Instead, Christian Ed has decided to try something a bit new. Instead of having a summer program that lasts for a week, we would like to create a new activity a few times throughout the year. One that is meant to foster fun and faith formation for you (YES YOU!) and all involved. Specifically, we want to reach out to our friends at the Jenkins School and invite them into this event with us. How are we doing that? With an activity called Messy Church.
What is Messy Church?
“A way of being church for all-ages to join in experiencing fun and faith formative activities. Found throughout the globe. Based on the values of all-ages together, celebration, creativity, hospitality, and centering ourselves in Christ”
The tagline for Messy Church is, “Church, but not as you know it.” People gather around the Word with games, crafts, activities, and storytelling. Important to this endeavor is gathering around food to share in fellowship and community building. We build relationships with God, each other, and the world.
As time comes closer, we will be reaching out to let you know how you can be involved and to tell you more about what Messy Church will look like. The first event will be in November so be on the lookout for invitations to be involved!
“A way of being church for all-ages to join in experiencing fun and faith formative activities.”