Saturday, August 29, 2009

An amazing Saturday

It is 9 o clock and I am almost ready to go to bed. And watch a little Mark Harmon.

I started this morning at the Wellstreams program with day 2 of a two day retreat beginning our second year. First of all, it feels so good to be back at Martin De Porres Center with the 17 who are part of my class. It wasn't that I missed anyone - but I missed the whole group and the whole experience of being together on this journey to becoming spiritual directors.

Last night we met a number of people who will be supervisors for us this year as we start to practice spiritual direction - first on each other and then on some guinea pigs (well, people, actually who will get free spiritual direction for a year under us!) Then today we read a number of articles about spiritual direction and did some conversation about listening and some listening exercises. What it did for me is really whet my appetite. I found myself thinking about all the ways in which I have grown because I go to a spiritual director and I really look forward to learning this art.

After this I went home and to get ready for our gospel praise concert: The Acts of Faith present Acts of Faith. The Acts of Faith are a signing group in our church and they put together this concert for the community. We had two choirs from other churches, a mime group, a Christian rapper and a poet in addition to the Acts of Faith themselves. It seems to me that we had almost 100 people come to this over the course of the 2 and a half hours and it was a really diverse group. The music - mostly led by Deric - was just terrific. I found myself standing, clapping, waving my arms around, dancing. A wonderful, wonderful evening.

So, Saturday night after a day like this and I need to time just me and Mark Harmon so I can chill out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Newsletter letter

Every month I write a letter to the congregation in the newsletter. I am getting ready to write one now. But I re-read last month's and thought I would share it on my blog. It really expresses how I feel about the church and God's work in the world.

Dear Friends
I am still recovering from the activity of last week – our Vacation Bible School. It was a busy week as we had 75 children and youth registered and attending and 40 youth and adults working. It was also a wonderful week to watch the children enjoy learning the Bible stories, singing songs and feeling the love of this church.
At the end of the week, Sunday afternoon I was blessed and honored to preach at Heather Bentley Hicks ordination service. It was an inspiring time of worship as we heard this beautiful young woman make her ordination vows to serve God. We laid hands on her and she served us communion.
All of this goes together. The church nurtures us into our calls and for some of us it may be a call to ministry in the church. For others it is our ministry within the work place, the home, the community, and a myriad of other ways in which God can use our gifts and desires.
What is most exciting to me about the spiritual journey is that God is working in ways that we cannot see, but we can trust. Eugene Peterson wrote that the assumption of the spiritual life is that God is always doing something before I know it. And then he wrote this

“So the task is not to get God to do something. I think needs to be done,
but to become aware of what God is doing so that I can respond to it and participate and take delight in it.”
Occasionally I get glimpses of what God is doing and that happened last week at this church. I am grateful for all of the staff and volunteers that worked together to help guide others to know the purpose and the joy of a life lived as a disciple of Christ. Let us continue to look for what God is doing and join God in bringing His love into this world.
See you on Sunday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sabbatical Questions

Well, I got an email from the Louisville Institute reminding me that the deadline for getting a grant for a Sabbatical is Sept 1st!
It is highly unlikely that I would get picked - but certainly not if I don't apply. And the word is that you want to dream big.
I have must spent 2 hours looking at websites online and trying to come to some kind of sense of where to go, what to do, what I need.
I have already determined that the Sabbatical will begin June 14th and end the Tuesday after Labor Day. In the middle of that time I will definitely go on a family vacation to NC, to Advance Conference if asked, probably Chautauqua and on at least one week long silent retreat.
I have titled this Sabbatical - "Body, Mind, and Soul" because that is really what I need - renewal of all three.

So, I am thinking about maybe learning more about the Enneagram, or about Reiki, or maybe doing a week of serious Bible study.

Then I am thinking about walking, exercising, yoga? fishing?

Then I am thinking about just getting a cabin in the woods and reading and writing and hoping that Chuck can keep himself occupied.

And then I am thinking about going to Florida to visit a church with a healing ministry or maybe to Sedona, Phoenix, Prescott.

And so, I dream and plan and wonder. I do know that it is time for the Sabbatical. I am plenty tired and one day off a week does not begin to give me the rest I need.

But I have exactly one week to nail it down a little to try to get some big money for a big dream. Whatever that is!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


There is nothing like a Sunday night.

I had two church services today - and they both went well and that is all good.
We had not very many people at the 5 o clock service - but it still was real worship and a good sermon from Charles.

I went out to lunch with about 20 members of the church at MCL Cafeteria - not my fav restaurant - but it was a good meal and really nice to be with people. Joe and Mary said they had been to a movie they liked but didn't who to recommend it to - and sure enough it turned out to be "Inglorious Bastarde" - a title I don't think they were going to say out loud - but a movie I plan to see tomorrow. All of that is pretty great in my book. Quentin Tarentino's movies are an acquired taste - and I like them. We will see.

Afterwards Chuck and I went to see Anna Margaret Ruland who is recovering in a nursing home from a broken hip and pneumonia - she is such a lovely person that it is just a joy to see her. And she offered us sugar free chocolates that were delicious. Who knew that you couldn't tell the difference? Not me. (I tend to take anything people offer me when I am visiting!)

This afternoon Marnie and Eric and Dawn and Jason came over and we talked about vacation next summer and Thanksgiving and going out to dinner next month and it was all very wonderful for me. I feel blessed in so many ways.

Finally, I read 100 pages in The poeple of the book for book group on Wednesday and like the book! That is always a good thing and I am sure I will finish it by Wednesday. in addition I got to see Mad Men tonight which is always very interesting.

So, how am I? Satisfied! A Good day and tomorrow is my day off.
What more can I say?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Julia and Julie and other things

I just read Kacey's blog ( about the movie and thought I should say something too. We went to see it on Monday evening at Easton and the best part - the best part - besides the movie and the company - was that at Easton you can buy a glass of chardonnay to drink while you watch the movie. That was SO PERFECT for this movie.

I always tell people that the movies I like the best are about people and this one certainly was. It was about two women who were loved by their husbands and who had a passion for cooking. And it made me want to cook some Boef Bourgeonion (SP) and some Coq Au Vin and I will. As most people who know me know - Chuck's entry into my life kind of kept me out of the kitchen - for a variety of reasons. But this movie really makes me want to cook once in a while. Get ready!!

Kacey commented on how the sister relationship touched her as she thought about me and my sister and when I read that I cried. What I realize is that in many ways I am constantly reminded of sisters - whether it is watching my daughters or a movie or just a chance comment. And as always, I am reminded that my sister is gone and it still surprises me.

I do have a passion in my life that is not cooking but it is in pastoring. Last week I set up the reiki table at Advance Conference and did 8 reiki treatments that week. in addition, I came back to Columbus one day specifically to pray for people as they were going into or coming out of surgery. I cannot explain the power and the blessing of praying for people - and it makes me want to do it all the time. today, in fact, one of the women from AA popped in for a brief prayer before she did her first "lead." How cool is that and what a gift. But the rest of the story is that I am tired. It is the grief as well as the pastoring that can take a lot of energy. But I also love what I do.

Anyway, let me also recommend Julia and Julie and tell you it really goes best with a glass of wine! (and the chocolate cake and decaf coffee afterwards wasn't bad either!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Interesting Week

I am writing this from home and waiting for some laundry to dry before I go back to Camp Christian and Advance Conference.

It has been an interesting week. One of my fellow minister said on Sunday - "Isn't it hard to leave the church - something always happens!" And I said - NO - not usually. Well three things have happened in the church this week: a member passed away, the church was broken into, and another member had brain surgery. That is why I got up this morning to be with the family. And it is good news - he has gotten through it successfully. But I wanted to be with the family and was glad that I was!
And the break in was no big deal - the glass on the door of my office and Erica's office was broken - but no damage beyond it. Probably someone looking for cash for drugs.

Meanwhile, at Advance Conference we are spending a week talking about and experiencing "Life in God." Each of us "faculty members" do a keynote on the theme of the day. Afterwards, we discuss it in small groups, some committee work and then free time in the afternoon, then vespers and an evening activity. The camp is full of young adults - ages 19 - 29 and having been part of it for over 10 years, I love interacting with them and seeing their growth. It is an amazing week - deep discussion and more laughter than I have the rest of the year.

My keynote was on doubt and it was Tuesday and I really enjoyed putting it together and doing it. I talked about the areas where we go through doubt - maybe to faith, maybe to more mature faith, maybe away from the institutional church, maybe away from God. The five areas I mentioned were: during times of tragedy, being exposed to exclusivity in the church, various Bibilical interpretations, recognizing how flawed the church can be, and having good people in our life for whom faith is irrelevant. This really was a good springboard to some honest sharing. It all felt good.

Yesterday the keynote was on spiritual disciplines and we practiced many during the keynote and our vespers service in the evening. It was a nice peaceful day.

So, soon I will be driving back and go back into that other community that has become so important to me.

Oh, and really the best part of it all - is that this year we have a mother/ daughter team on faculty - me and Audrey. How great is that!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I had a wonderful week at Chautauqua Institute last week for several reasons.

First, the preacher was just inspiring. Her name is Vashti Murphy McKenzie and she is from Maryland and is the Bishop of the AME Church. Every morning I found myself in tears as I heard her preach as she was touching something deep inside me. Her sermon on Thursday was about staying the course - as "faith is trusting what your eyes cannot see." It has been a hard summer with three deaths in the family and it is easy for me to feel worn out. But her preaching reminded me of the power of preaching itself as well as the reality of our God of Newness. I bought her sermons on CD and look forward to listening to them all.

The theme for the week was Cinema and we heard two actors and two directors speak. One of the actors was Matthew Modine and he told about how Stella Adler told him that she would teach him to be a "human being." Robert Altman told him you have to find the "truth inside yourself" and Stanley Kubrick said: "I don'twant you to play act, I want you to be yourself." And that really was the underlying theme - about finding your voice, your authentic self. The other actor was a character actressnamed Beth Grant who talked about the fact that she always wanted to act but didn't want to be a character actress. She wanted to be Joan Crawford and not Thelma Ritter. Finally in her early thirties she went to a mystic who led her on a meditation in which she asked the guru - "can you take me to the place that is blocking my energy from accepting my casting?" And again, the mesage is becoming and accepting yourself.

We heard over and over again that film is a collaberative art. And one interesting statement I wrote down from James Ivory (Merchant Ivory Films) is that actors as a group are deep and not wide and directors as a group are wide but not deep. In other words, the directors really see the biggest picture. Which only makes sense.

So, that was some of what made the week good for me. One other part was hearing stories from people who are my age who are still seeing themselves with lots of plans and dreams ahead. Beth Grant had 6 movies coming out and so many ideas for the futures. We also heard Ken Burns speak and as impressive as he was, he too mentioned at least 10 projects in the futures. All of this is encouraging me to see that there is so muh more for me to do and learn and plan for the future.

I can feel that God is at work within me - restoring my soul and preparing me for the next big thing that is coming.
I wonder what it is.