Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters,* by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual* worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world,* but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.*
The joint congregations are entering into a time of mutual discovery. We are entering a time of discernment and called upon to dig deep into our willingness to serve Christ in the community and with each other. We are much more than two struggling congregations who are now sharing space so that we extend each other’s life. To be something more, we trust God and begin working hard – willing to be both vulnerable with each other and open to creative change. By exploring the possibilities, without fear or ego getting in the way, we can see what God can do. We also simply need to get to know each other. Learning the personal story behind the fragments of information we have gleaned about each other can only build our community. So, let’s listen to each other and God as we enter this work.
In Parker Palmer’s book A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward An Undivided Life. he describes a “circle of trust” as “a space between us that honors the soul,”. This is solid ground for the work we are doing so that we can each be known, loved and find authentic service in the world. Our mission is related to Frederick Buechner’s assertion that vocation is “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need”. So, let’s locate our vocation where our personal joy and gifts for others meet in this moment.
Look for plans for some ALL-church events which will, weather permitting, be held outside so that there is the possibility of sharing in the conversation and discernment of the whole body. In the meantime, pray and ponder. This is an exciting time for ALL of us. We do not have a map and that is just as God intends. We trust God will lead us. Will we be a union congregation or a federated congregation? Something else? We do not yet know. WHATEVER outcome, we will preserve our ELCA and PCUSA roots and affiliation, since that is an essential part of who we are. Let us enter this season of discernment with open our hearts and minds to detect where the Spirit is leading and how we might be of greater service in the community where we worship – together. The session and council have plans to work with a consultant in the fall to facilitate further conversations and planning.
If you have any questions, ideas, comments, or concerns – please share them with me or any member of the session and council!
In peace, Beth