To start, I'd like to share my gratitude for my week away at the Art of Transitional Ministry training in St. Louis - I think the timing of it was fortuitous. You may have heard me say that I have felt like I've been "drinking from the fire hose" as I have been listening the stories you have shared and the hopes you harbor for the future of this congregation. My week away allowed for me to sit at the table and take sips, drinking in all that I have heard, observed, and experienced thus far. Furthermore, I was grateful to gather around the table with other seasoned transitional ministers to help me process the information.
It is also fortuitous that we celebrate Pentecost this week. Truth be told, Pentecost has never been the holiday on the calendar that has been most moving to me - however, this year, I sense the coming of the Spirit more meaningfully. As I consider the languages being spoken at TPPC, I hear your individual voices crying out for peace, for reconciliation, for mercy, for grace, for forgiveness, and for God's redemptive power to make all things new again. But, there is a confusion among you - it is hard to understand one another. Because of the deep pain some individuals have and are experiencing; because of the lack of trust; because of a fear of disturbing the fragile sense of calm which is a moment without conflict but is known not to be peace, it is difficult for you to hear one another's hurts and hopes. But, with the Spirit's help - we all might soon begin to understand.
This year, each of us will be called to a great task that requires an openness to the Spirit. We will be called to trust in God's loving Spirit to repair the breach. We will be called to participate in the healing of the community. We will be called to heed Christ's teachings of reconciling love right here in this church. I encourage you to spend some time in prayerful reflection on what that might mean for you. What might it mean for the you as an individual, and you as a church, to allow for the transforming Spirit to work among you? I encourage you to spend some time listening for the Spirit's wisdom, for the Spirit's call, and for the Spirit's leading. The path forward will not be with the same steps we have taken in the past - God is calling us to forge a new path of light ahead.
May God's peace and wisdom surround and encourage you.
Peace, Pastor JC
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