Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Letters from Federal Way--Part 1
OK, so a former nunnery on Puget Sound is not exactly the breach . . .
But that's where this letter comes from. I'm here with Paul, Susan (another priest from the Diocese of Spokane), and a bunch of other Episco-folk to learn about congregational development. We're intending to learn how to help the congregations in the Diocese of Spokane (which includes Northern Idaho and all of Eastern Washington) become more vibrant and healthy.
I won't bore you with all the blah-blah details about congregational development. That's probably only interesting to organizational geeks like myself. But I will bore you with a little of what I've learned so far in our work together. This is hard work, especially someone who's good at faking extrovert, but really is an introvert. It's also a bit lonely being the headstrong deac-in-training in among a plethora of priests and a their lay associates, especially when the coursework tends to scrutinize the inward-tending functions of a congregation (how it cares for its members) more than its movement into the world. Next, add the intention that this is a program that not only imparts tons of information, but also involves a lot of group work and self-examination that stretches you--if you let it.
All that said, I'm particulary intrigued by a model that can be followed as a rule of life for individuals as well as congregations. Please pray for me as I spend this week asking for the Holy Spirit to rock my world through the rhythm and balance of the Benedictine life:
1) Find God in what is, right now.
2) Find God in listening in order to act.
3) Find God in the next new work of my life.
4) Lather. Rinse. Repeat.