I have just returned home from our annual Diocesan Clergy Conference at Geneva-on-the-Lake. It is a time set aside each year for the clergy (bishops, priests and deacons) of the diocese to step away from our day-to-day activities and spend some time together.
Our days together are a combination of time to relax and enjoy each other’s company along with an educational component. This year we had 2 trainers/facilitators from the College for Congregational Development join us for a series of workshops introducing the work of this organization.
Our new bishop coadjutor, The Rt. Rev. Anne Jolly has been involved with this training program for several years and has decided the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio will start using the program diocesan-wide starting next year. It will afford teams of clergy and lay leaders from congregations to engage in a 2-year process garnering tools and resources building up and deepening ministry in each local context.
This week we were afforded a sampling of the training, models and practices used in the program. I found the material engaging and wonderfully affirming of the work we are engaged in at Trinity these days. The work is built on the premise that the purpose of the church is to GATHER, TRANSFORM and SEND.
Within each of these three movements of the purpose, there are models to assist and encourage generative examination and conversation discerning where and how communities are thriving and/or yearning for growth. It was exciting to go through the models and think about who we are right now, how our 2030 Vision is helping shape a path forward and, all the ways we have yet to discover how God may be calling us to serve and live and give in the days to come.
One evening we were asked to make a “collage of our ministry context” using random magazines placed on our tables. I had absolutely no confidence when I started that a Travel Magazine, a Land’s End Catalogue and Food & Wine magazine could have anything to help me reflect Trinity’s context or vibe- and all in 15 minutes. And while I won’t be doing much with what I created, I am sharing it here this week as another testimony for the miracle that is Trinity; a progressive, inclusive, creative community of faith. If you look closely you will see that behind all the words and images I cut out is a background of bread- dinner rolls actually. This reminds me that in all we do together we are the Body of Christ and will always be more together than we could ever be on our own.
Thank you for the gift of time this week. It was needed, necessary, restorative and a beautiful reminder that we are doing something exquisitely unique and risky and challenging and beautiful at Trinity. So come home this Sunday- either to Trinity@Home or Trinity@316 as we continue to give thanks to God for the Love that we find and embrace and then freely give away.
May you never forget that you are loved.