When I was in seminary I was taught: Small churches are tough. You can't beat them to death with a stick! I believed that truism, and repeated it to others. Now I have fresh experience that allows me to see the backside of that truism, which is also true: Small churches are fragile. So far in … [Read more...] about The Body of Christ: Tough & Fragile
Every institution needs an interested but detached observer. Today (Nov 7) the Presbyterian Outlook, which is that eye upon the PCUSA, published a story titled Investigation finds four PCUSA employees committed ethics violations. I encourage you to read the article in full. Kudos to Leslie Scanlon … [Read more...] about 1001 Worshipping Communities: Missteps
Most unusual: The parking lot was already lined with cars when we pulled in. Inside the church office, my desktop was almost clear. I made photocopies of various last-minute instruction lists and reminders, and posted them in conspicuous places, the way you might for your first overnight … [Read more...] about Farewell to My Church on Pentecost
After almost a decade at my church, I am leaving to pursue writing full time, at least for a season. This coming Sunday is my last day in the pulpit! Here are just a few of the things that I'm going to miss . . . I'll miss my place in the sanctuary, the red velvet throne that's lost its springs. … [Read more...] about What I’ll Miss: a pastor’s thoughts on leaving her church
Today was a first: a Renewal of Baptism at our church. The occasion came about because a new member requested it, someone who had been previously baptized, but who wanted to mark the occasion of joining this church with a renewal of baptismal vows. So yes, Session decided to offer the ritual to … [Read more...] about Sunday Report: Reaffirming Baptism
Since I've announced to my congregation that I'm leaving (see earlier post "Downshifting"), I have been thinking about good endings. I'll blog about that soon and welcome your thoughts, meantime. Meantime, I'm noticing the various gifts of ministry that I will miss. Two of them come to mind most … [Read more...] about What I’ll Miss about Pastoring
What does it mean to be saved? How is salvation effected? What is the role of the cross in salvation? Last night was the first time I have been at a church discussion group where we did not assume that we all knew the "right" answers to these questions, and had no trouble with them. Refreshing. … [Read more...] about Salvation, and other Edges
This was published in NCP Monthly (National Capital Presbytery) this morning. A Baptist minister, a Methodist pastor, a Catholic priest, an Episcopalian rector and a Presbyterian clergywoman walk into a fellowship hall . . . What will happen next? Perhaps the scene is familiar. In Poolesville, we … [Read more...] about What Will Happen Next?
Last Wednesday, Oct 20 was designated by the Facebook community as a day to wear purple to support LGBT youth. This was part of the larger It Gets Better campaign in response to the recent rash of suicides by young men who had been bullied because of their sexual orientation. What's especially sad … [Read more...] about Color It Purple: God Loves You
As our church moves ahead on a ConnectCafe ministry, I'm pondering what it means to offer hospitality. It's more than offering coffee and internet access, I'm sure of that. Our culture has reduced the concept of hospitality to having really nice cookware. Then we can all pretend we're food critics. … [Read more...] about Hospitality, What Is It?
On the day before the fourth Sunday of Advent, God decided to speed up our holiday celebrations by blanketing us with snow. We were, collectively, forced inside by 20 inches of snow. I'm loving it. Today, all around, church services were cancelled. I was as gleeful as a 3rd grader who wore her … [Read more...] about It’s Called Grace: Blizzard of 2009
At CREDO we did a "lifeline exercise" which was to help us summarize our life story so that we could share it with a few other people. As I reviewed the pivotal events of my life, it struck me that each of them was influenced mightily by my physicality. In other words, if you were to change who I am … [Read more...] about Size Matters