Happy New Year…. almost!

This past year with the Sellwood Faith Community was a really great one. The thing I am most excited about is that this year 4 people started coming to dinner because of our chalkboard sign.  Our messages of hope and love the the neighborhood really are reaching people in profound ways.  I have seen many people take pictures of the sign as they walk through the neighborhood.  It’s always fun to watch people smile as they see it.  We are making a positive impact in our neighborhood and that is one of our goals. We have also grown this year numerically, in our own spiritual growth, and in our relationships with one another.  Our participation in the Village Support network, where we support a family transitioning from homelessness into housing has stretched us and helped us to support one another in living out our faith.  Our dinner table discussions continue to be rich and we have big plans for our next steps including a new dinner starting in January and an improved children’s ministry run by our awesome volunteers.   There continues to be so many wonderful things unfolding at SFC I just know this is going to be another great year....

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Advent is a season of waiting. It comes at a particularly good time for me this year as we wait to see what the conference is planning for us in the coming year.  Our original grant for SFC was a 4 year plan that was contingent upon me being appointed half time to another, traditional church.  I have been fortunate to serve with the lovely people of Capitol Hill United Methodist church for the past two and a half years as we planted the Sellwood Faith Community. Capitol Hill has an active congregation of about 15 people.  The average attendance hovers closer to 10.  There is about $100,00 worth of deferred maintenance on the building.  Over the past 18 months the congregation has been exploring the possibilities of what could be next for them.  This summer it became clear that unless money was poured in to the building nothing else could move forward.  The incredibly faithful people of this church decided that was not a good use of their resources, to put money in a building that would probably be torn down in a few years anyway.  As a result of this wisdom Capitol Hill voted to close this past November.  The last Sunday will be at the end of June.  This was a difficult decision, one made out of deep faith and an understanding that God is not finished with them. The closing of Capitol Hill means that I will need a change in appointment, not only so I can retain full time status, but also so that the financials for SFC continue to work.  Capitol Hill has...

Slanty Tree

The bulk of our gatherings take place in our home.  We live in the old Sellwood parsonage, which we call the Sellwood Faith Community House these days.  We work hard to have our home be a comfortable place for our family and also a welcoming place for our community.  Our house is not perfect, and that is actually just right for our imperfect community.  It’s fundamental to create a place where our community can thrive, and we spend quite a bit of time cleaning and preparing to share this space so that we can share life here together. When we first started a huge part of what we did was work on the house.  I did up the front yard, put a new treatment on the countertops, and we painted quite a bit.  These days the front yard could use some weeding and the countertops need to be redone.  It’s not as important any more because the life of our community is in full swing.  The yard and countertops will happen, but now coffee with folks and time spent preparing for our new children’s ministry are priorities. This means that when a glass gets broken or something gets spilled it’s no big deal because this home is not a museum or a carefully curated temple, but a living house where the Christmas tree is a bit slanted and the carpet has a stain or two. For me there is joy in the imperfection, in the moving from setting the stage to living in the moment.  And on this third week of advent that joy is what I am celebrating....

The Art of Peace

This week is a pretty awesome one. I get to spend part of 5 days at the Portland Art Museum, one of the most peaceful places I know.  As a docent* I can get 5 people in for free every day this week. I was so excited to share the beauty of this place, I invited everyone I knew and got a lot of interested guests. There are more openings to join me – click here.The museum is a place where we can learn about another culture, where we can learn about ourselves, and where we can bask in beauty. It is a place of peace. By this I mean it is a place where we create space to be touched by something outside of ourselves. It is a space where we can nurture our souls. As a new start pastor it is crucial that my life and work intersect with peace like this.  My work is informed by how others are being spiritually fed, it’s informed by my own spiritual well being, and it is informed by encountering new people and new places.   This past week has been a difficult one. Gun violence, islamophobia, hate filled rhetoric, fights with my kid, the pressures of work, and the grey skies all have made it hard to find peace. I’m thankful to have a place like the art museum where I can be comforted, provoked, and enlightened.  If you need me in times like this you can probably find me in front of the painting below, which is my current favorite on display. I encourage you to take a few moments to really look at...