At 36 weeks pregnant, I definitely feel like a vessel -- literally the container for a life growing within. I want to acknowledge that we all have wildly different experiences connected to pregnancy, childbirth and parenting -- some joyful and some deeply painful. For me today, it is a joy to get to journey with you and our church through this pregnancy. In addition to reflecting on the vessel that is currently my body, I have been thinking about the vessel of our church community -- both the physical vessel of our building and the metaphorical vessel that is our community.
This last week of February, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of your love for me and my family -- the cards, gift basket, music, gifts, texts, and prayers. With our families so far away, the vessel of our church family feels even more important as we prepare for the birth of our son. And I am so grateful for the kind of vessel it is: a vessel shaped by love, humility, generosity, forgiveness, and curiosity. No, we don’t get things right all the time. Yes, sometimes processes are messy and slow. But again and again, I see us choosing to figure things out together, to stay connected through the ups and the downs. Honestly? That’s the kind of family I want my son (and daughter!) to be a part of. That’s the kind of church I want them to belong to. One where we don’t have to conform to a particular way of being. One where our differences can be acknowledged, embraced, even celebrated. One where we are loved for who we are and celebrated as children of God.
I realize that right now, there are a bunch of moving pieces that bring uncertainty and that feel a little messy: not because things are going badly but simply because we are stepping into unknown territory, because we are being brave together. And so, I ask for your prayers for the vessel that is our congregation. As we make final preparations for my parental leave. As we continue to discuss and discern what to do with our property at 832 N Lincoln Ave. As our Open and Affirming team begins making phone calls to hear from each of you. As our Mission and Outreach Team explores the needs of our wider community and connects those with your passions and concerns.
While these are all questions about what we will do next and how, they are fundamentally linked to the question of WHY, of purpose. On the last Saturday in February, our leaders gathered for a retreat to talk about this Why. And I hope you will be praying and thinking about it, too. What do you understand our purpose as a congregation to be. How are we already living boldly into that purpose, that calling? How do you see God calling us to risk leaning more deeply into our why?
As ever, I am so grateful to be journeying with you. To be shaped by and shapers of this community that we share and love. And I am deeply grateful for our willingness, your willingness to trust and listen for God’s call.
In love and gratitude,