The Pastor’s Kid Has Her Say

About a month ago the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women published a blog post from me about what it is like to be a female pastor in a new start.  In the conversations about the post I was writing I shared with Jenn, the staffer from the commission, that our daughter had felt really left out when the video from United Methodist Communications about our new community hadn’t talked about her role when they spoke about Jeff and I.  Jenn offered to have our daughter tell her story in a blog post.  Here is what she had to...

Everything Must Go

Normally this blog is about new church start stuff with a little bit of personal growth thrown in. Today’s blog is about the traditional church I serve.  Capitol Hill United Methodist Church is over 105 years old. This church has a long history of resiliency and service. I consider it one of the best churches I’ve ever known. The people of this church are truly lovely. I have laughed with them and cried with them and most importantly grown spiritually with them. The challenge of the situation here is that the building has over hundred thousand dollars worth of deferred maintenance and average worship attendance is down to 14. We spent a year as a church exploring a third way over monthly brunch worship sessions. Maybe we could open a coffee shop? Maybe we become a community center? Maybe we could become a retreat center? After exploring many creative possibilities it became clear that none of them were the path that God was calling us to.  In November the congregation made the difficult decision to close the church.  While this church is still a place of vibrant faith it was clear the time had come to move on. This decision was not without its grief and difficulty, however the people of this church embrace the end with dignity and grace. While this may be the end for this organization it is not the end of the faith lives of the people. It is not the end of what God is doing.  This past weekend, after much planning and discussion, we held an estate sale at the church. It was fun...

Coaching Cool

One of the best practices for new church planting is to have a coach.  This is someone to talk to about your work, to help you see themes in your story you don’t see yourself at first, and to hold you accountable to the things you need to work on.  I have had 4 coaches in the 3 years we’ve been here at SFC.  The first was a colleague who was training to be a coach.  She did a fabulous job.  At the end of my first year however I felt like I wanted someone with new start experience.  Luckily I had a friend who had done some new start work and asked him to be my coach.  It was hard to separate out coaching and friendship, so that only lasted a little while.  Then I asked for recommendations and found a serious, professional new start coach.  That lasted all of 2 sessions.  It was not a good fit at all.  So I was drifting a long, trying to find the right person when she popped into my life. This relationship is exactly what I need coaching to be.  She is my cheerleader and is super honest.  I always get off the phone feeling encouraged, like I can actually do this work God is calling me to.  She also helps me to see if when there is a problem or something I needed to think about.  Her encouragement is authentic, because we also talk about the hard stuff. Now that I’m part of a successful coaching relationship I’m beginning to think everyone should have a coach.  Someone to be...

Change is Afoot at SFC

A couple of weeks ago it was announced that my role at Sellwood Faith Community would be shifting.  Since July of 2013 I have been half time to SFC and half time to Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, just across the river in the Burlingame neighborhood of Portland. Capitol Hill is closing at the end of June and as soon as that was apparent our community here in Sellwood started making plans.  We ended up presenting 4 plans over the course of 2 months to the funding source of the annual conference.  The plans ranged in time commitments for Jeff and I as well as the amount needed for a grant. The funding source decided to fund my position here at SFC full time while Jeff will continue to be 1/4 time. Starting July 1 of 2016 I will no longer need to make up a weekly bulletin or write a call to worship.  That will be after 12 years of doing so nearly every week.  I’m sure it will take a little while to get used to the new rhythm of work life.  I’ll miss Capitol Hill, the lovely people there, and the grounding of preparing for weekly worship.  I look forward to fully committing myself to the amazing things unfolding at SFC and the lessons I can’t even imagine that I will learn in the process. We as a community continue to be incredibly grateful to all of you who support us through prayer, donations, idea sharing, and encouragement.  We have plans to expand our ministry and to continue to grow and change as God moves in...