Spirit Renew Us

This week the child and I are on the road for camping with friends from Montana, splashing in the waterpark with friends from Idaho, and a catch up with friends from Arizona. Luckily all this will take place in Idaho! On Sunday I will be dropping the child off at church camp and making my way back home to Jeff.  I know I will be tired, tanned, and restored. Having a break from the normal is wonderful and I know that having new experiences with people I love will be such a gift.  While we’re off on our adventure I’m asking the people of our community to have an adventure too.  We aren’t going to meet for brunch or dinner on July 31st.  Instead folks from the community are going to find a new way to experience their neighborhoods. Maybe they’ll attend a youth soccer game at the local park or stand in the long line at the trendy brunch place around the corner.  Perhaps they’ll take a walk or enjoy a picnic on the river bank. Even as a new church start we have routines and habits.  It’s a great spiritual gift to take time to disrupt that and try new things. My hope is that we all will be attentive to the places we see God in our neighborhood and perhaps this Sunday off might spark a new ministry or a better understanding of how we can be present in the places where we live. I hope your summer has space for renewal and rest us well! -Eilidh One of the places we will be...

The Conspiracy Against Us

When I was in college I worked for the city of Albany Parks Department. My partner that first summer was another college student. She and I were responsible for all of the flowers in all of the parks and for various other jobs such as watering the grass and cutting down the weeds. Over the course of the summer we felt like that there was a conspiracy against us to make our jobs impossible. Perhaps we were actually on a hidden camera show.  We would put a sprinkler is the ground and get sprayed in the face with water because it was malfunctioning. We would be unable to start the weedeater and take it back to the shop only to have it spring to life when one of the guys picked it up. We tried to right a tipped bucket only to discover it was filled with something so heavy we couldn’t manage it. This past Sunday I felt like the conspiracy had struck again. The Tacoma bridge was closed meaning folks from the west side would have to take a 15 minute detour to get to the SFC house. The street in front of the house was closed for more than a block as the city ground off the pavement to get ready for repaving. The final straw was when I cut open my finger on the lid of the sour cream as I was making the breakfast casserole. Despite all my best efforts I was convinced that no one would come and brunch would be a disaster. Luckily I was born with a strong “the show must...

Transformation Station

Not only have things changed structurally at SFC with adding brunch and welcoming a number of the Capitol Hill folks into our community, but things have changed administratively as well.  We have a new staff person at the conference handling our income, a new treasurer at the conference to talk to about things like insurance matters, one of our community members watching over our budget, and a new church plant staff person who has been serving in Washington state and is expanding to Oregon as we work together more as a region.  We are also using new benchmarks and new reporting tools as we communicate about what is happening here at SFC with the Congregational Development Team, which is our funding source. Now I’m geeky enough to love some of these changes.  I’m a big fan of color coded spread sheets and getting to know new people.  The part I’m most excited about however is the narrative piece of the reporting that we are starting.  Quarterly we are asked to share stories of transformation in our community.  I love that we are not just looking to numbers as a mark of success, but trying to record the impact of our community on the members and those we encounter in our lives. The best part of all these new pieces is that they are not mine alone.  Together as a community we tell the story of the ways we are being changed as we live a life that tries to follow Jesus.  Together we discern the best way to use our resources and make sure all the i’s are dotted...

Save Your Quarters

Last week I spent a few days camping at Timothy Lake near Mt. Hood.  I was there with our daughter and my dear friend Amanda who is also the leader of the SFC laundromat team.  We spent time swimming, boating, reading, hiking, and dreaming about the laundromat. We had hours of time to brainstorm and talk about big issues like water use and power dynamics as well as to dream and think about how we wanted to work going forward. It is so true that time apart is crucial to creativity.  Time to float and enjoy the beauty of the blue sky and blue water, time to hike by myself under a glowing green canopy, time to laugh and play with my daughter and her friend who happened to be at the next campground over, all made me sharper and more open as we got down to business. We believe that the laundromat is a great idea and that we are ready to do the work to make it a reality. We want to create a space where people can cross socioeconomic boundaries in our community and come together to share space, do needed hygiene work, take care of the precious resources of our planet, and engage with one another around the big issues of life.  We’re calling the laundromat Saint Veronica’s, after the patron saint of laundry workers.  She was a woman who gave Jesus a cloth to wipe his face as he headed to the cross. This image of care and compassionate outreach is one we want to live out in our work with the laundromat.  It...