Our Quest for Faithful Presence

Dear St Luke’s,

First things first… remember to adjust your clocks.  We “Spring Forward” this weekend.  So, as you go to bed, if it’s 10:00PM adjust your clock forward one hour so is reads 11:00PM.  See in you in the morning!

As you may know, Pastor Mark and I will be presiding and preaching together this weekend.  And as if that weren’t enough, we’ll also be together for our Community Forum conversation.  I’m thinking this weekend’s Community Forum could be a lovely opportunity to bring some of the questions you might have as we all anticipate the Griffiths’ return and my departure later this summer. 

Times of transitions are – by definition – seasons of change.  Often transitions catch us unaware, but not this one.  We know who’s involved and when it’s going to happen.  Part of the question before us, is how might we wisely begin preparing to honor this shift in our community’s life together. 

I’d love for us to begin imagining how we might welcome and receive Heather, Sadie, Caroline, Josiah and Pastor Mark back into our midst.  Each of them have had their own unique pilgrimage experience.  Each one has grown and changed; and they have grown and changed as a family unit. 

It’s such a weird thing when a person leaves for a season and later returns.  It’s almost like taking a photograph.  When a person, or in this case a whole family, goes on pilgrimage, it’s like we – who stayed – snap a picture of what things were like when they departed.  We keep that image in our hearts, and we can easily assume we know who they are and what it will be like when they return.  But it’s more complicated.  All things are impermeant.  And if we’re honest with ourselves, even the picture we held in our hearts was not reality.  Our “photo” was simply our perspective at the time.  We cannot assume any of the Griffiths will return with the same interests or involvements in our community when they return.  We do know that Pastor Mark will return as our pastor but even how he does that might have shifted.  We get to discover each of them a new.

We too have changed.  I won’t say we’ve been on a “Wild Ride,” but it’s been a ride, nonetheless.  While we have seen a significant change in our church’s staff since I’ve been here.  We saw Courtney move on, Roselyn retired, and we added Deb to the front office. But it’s the often the smaller changes we settle into which become our “new normal.”  From my use of the singing bowl, and certain words or phrases I use, to the simple reality that Pastor Mark and I pastor differently.  We preach differently, preside differently, we facilitate meetings differently… if I’m honest I don’t even know all the things that are different but I’m guessing you and many others in our congregation can identify differences big and small. 

Anytime someone or a group leave a community a void is created.  A real loss.  We come to love the people in our faith community. I have been part of St Luke’s for over a year, and it will be about 19 months when all is said and done.  My departure will create a void.  So we’d be wise to be preparing for that.  I am already considering ways I might bless y’all into what’s next, and y’all will need to consider what it means to release me back into the wild.

One the beauties in the diversity of Christian faith traditions, is that we value, honor, and choose to mark important moments.  Our ancestors in the faith have demonstrated that its often in moments of liminality where we grow, risk forward, and make visible our love of God and love of neighbor. 

All this to say, as we gather together this Sunday, with Pastor Mark and myself standing side by side as friends and colleagues in mutual service of Christ and our St Luke’s faith community, it’s not too soon to begin wondering together, how might the Spirit be inviting us to intentionally move toward our pastoral transition with openness, gratitude, courage, and imagination.   

On the horizon are a number of things to note:

  • Fred Rogers “Neighbor Sunday” with breakfast will be March 19th
  • Our community forums on March 26 and April 2 will focus on “Belonging & St Luke’s.”
  • We have Holy Friday Service scheduled at 7:00PM on April 7.
  • April 9 is Easter Sunday
    • Egg Hunt & Light Brunch to follow the Easter Service.
    • Membership: if you’re interested in becoming a member or transferring your membership to St Luke’s let our office know, we welcome new members on Easter.

Always remember my friend, you are beloved, you are not alone, and yes, you belong.

Peace, dwight