Lenten Pictures

Lent is the church season before Easter.  It’s 40 days, plus Sundays, are a time when for centuries Christians have engaged in a discipline or practice that helps them recenter on God.  This is based on the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness after his baptism.  In this time he wrestled with the temptations of power, might, and convenience.  After this every time that Jesus needed to center himself he returned to wilderness spaces.   Lots of people give things up for Lent and sometimes people take on a practice.  These are meant to be challenges that make us work a little harder and sharpen our faith. My practice this year for Lent is to take a photo each day around a specific word.  I’m using a list provided by the national United Methodist Church.  This may seem like a fun thing, and it is, but the challenge here is to look at my life and my surroundings through a particular lens and then try to capture that. It’s also a chance to use my much neglected artistic side.  Doing something daily is a challenge.  Life gets busy, but no matter what I try to post a picture by the end of the day.  All day long I’m thinking about the word and about how to see God at work in my life.  On the busiest of days this is the most needed, so I don’t give myself a pass.  Too often in my life I say I’ll work ahead or I can do that tomorrow.  This discipline means that each task must be done each day, a...

The Blog Turns 2.

This is our daughter when she was two.  This blog is not nearly as cute. 2 years ago we started documenting our journey with this blog.  In that time we’ve had 83 posts and just under 12,600 page views.  That means on average 150 people read each blog.  Not a very big number compared to some blogs, but enough to show that the work we are doing has a wider impact beyond Sellwood. We write to inspire others, to share our story, to offer hope about faith, and to be held accountable.  We try to write a weekly post, usually on Mondays that captures our latest learning or newest information about the work of the new start we call the Sellwood Faith Community.  I have had lots of people talk to me about the ideas, failures, challenges, hopes, and successes we have shared here.  I’m glad that we are helping add to the conversation about the church and faith these days. We also write as a way of saying thank you to everyone who helped us get this far.  This new church start may be the vision that God has given to Jeff and I, but it was formed and made possible by countless others.  I think often of the many faithful that built the Sellwood United Methodist Church and the parsonage where we now live.  Without their past efforts we would not be here.  The people who have donated to the new start fund for our regional body have also made our new start possible.  As have all the people who have encouraged us, trained us, challenged us,...

What does it mean to be a pastor?

At a meeting this fall I was asked how what I was doing was any different than a community organizer.  The man, a retired clergy person, wanted to know how my job was one of a pastor.  It’s a good question, one that has had me thinking on and off about it for the last few months.In the United Methodist Church traditionally it has been people who have the status of an ordained elder who have been identified as pastor.  As I thought about how I am a pastor in this unconventional context the definition of an elder from the website of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church was helpful.Elders are ordained United Methodist clergy who preach and teach the Word of God, provide pastoral care and counsel, administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and order the life of the church for service in mission in ministry. The servant leadership of the elder…. expressed by leading the people of God in worship and prayer, leading people to faith in Jesus Christ, exercising pastoral supervision, and ordering the Church in mission in the world. (http://www.gbhem.org/clergy/elders)Around the dinner table I’m teaching about the word of God, and sometimes I even get to preaching.  I show up at hospital bedsides and officiate the funerals of those in my community.  I listen as people ask big questions and shower them with love.  We’ve had one baptism here and are beginning the practice of holy communion more frequently.  We are all about equipping the people who participate in the Sellwood Faith Community to serve and love the...

What We Need

We have such an amazingly lovely support network, thank you!  People have been asking us what we need as we adjust our schedule and continue to live our mission as new start planters.  My reply is fairly simply, we need three things: 1. Prayers2. People3. Gifts We would love prayers for this community, that we continue to listen faithfully and that we are brave enough to step into new opportunities.  We would love prayers for our core group and for those who are taking on more leadership of our new activities.  Prayers for fruitfulness and more lives touched are always appreciated.  You can let us know you are praying for us by leaving a comment below or on Facebook.  Knowing that we are held up by others and that we are not alone in this work is very empowering.  Our community will in turn hold you in prayer. We need more people to join us on this grand experiment.  Please refer people to us who you think might be ready for a new kind of community.  These may be people who are spiritually questioning, who have left church, or who are looking for something new.  You can email me at pastoreilidh@gmail.com if you can think of folks we should be reaching. Last of all we need financial support for our community to continue.  We are doing very well with our grant from the regional church body, the annual conference, but every year our amount from them decreases and we turn to other sources for funding.  We are working on an online giving option and will let you know about...