Standing Up For Love

Standing Up For Love

This past week our community was rocked by a violent crime.  On a commuter train in the NE part of the city a man began yelling atrocious threats at two teenage girls, one african american, the other wearing a headscarf.  People intervened, telling the man he could not speak to the girls this way.  He reacted with shocking violence, slashing the necks of three men, two of whom died. Story after story has poured in to our local media of every day heroism in this fateful moment.  Particularly stirring are the tales of the courage and the core values of the three men who witnessed something that they could not let stand and so reacted, trying to calm the perpetrator and protect the victims.  Others rushed to their aid, holding them in love as they died, offering what first aid they could on a train platform.  Still others ran after the man, ensuring that police found him quickly. The walls of the station where the train stopped have become a community memorial.  In chalk hundreds of people have scrawled out messages of love, hope, and grief.  Our community has reacted, claiming that love matters and that we will be a people who refuse to let hate and intimidation rule us. Our job now as people in this place at this time is to be tender with one another.  Our community is working to hold space for our shared anguish and to encourage one another to be the kind of people who live the way we think God calls us to live as people of love.  The stakes are incredibly high.  Are...
Flexing The Brain Cells

Flexing The Brain Cells

This week Jeff, Amanda, and I got together to plan the themes and some of the worship and gathering details for July-September.  It took us 3 and a half hours of praying, reading scriptures, listening to Jeff play songs, laughing, trusting, and collaborating. Afterwards I felt more than a little foggy, so I took a nap.  These aren’t skills I’ve had to use in a long time. Back in Boise Jeff and I worked with a team to plan worship.  At Veneta I did it on my own.  At Capitol Hill I simply worked a month ahead.  To do this work of listening to the spirit within the Southeast Portland Parish pastoral team was wonderful and exhausting.  Next time, planned for the end of August, I know it will be easier. We already figured out that picking scriptures for a month and then going back to pick songs didn’t work as well as when we went week by week picking out scriptures and songs at the same time. Another thing that will make it easier is by next time we will have been all working together at Southeast Portland Parish for a few months.  We’ll have an even better sense of what God is calling us to share with the folks in our faith communities and neighborhoods. I know that this next year is going to be full of moments like this week.  Moments of incredibly rewarding hard work.  Moments when my brain is foggy and tired from using old skills I haven’t called on in a while.  Moments that require me to rest afterwards.  I also know I’ll...
Celebrating Life

Celebrating Life

Several of my friends offered sympathy to me this week that I had to work on Mother’s Day.   I think I actually had the perfect day.  I got to share time with wonderful people over a meal, which is one of my favorite things in the whole world.  I love hosting people in our home.  I love eating.  I love being challenged and asking questions about matters of faith.  Besides eating with friends one of my other favorite things in life is sleeping.  Every Sunday I take a nap, so that made this Mother’s Day a good one too. During our music time after brunch I also got to snuggle the sweetest baby.  I’m not a baby crazy person, but this little nugget is really something special. She is only 4 weeks old and rocking her while we sang together as community took me back to my first days as a mother.  It was lovely to remember what was, and to watch my tween dancing and singing to the music at the same time.  It really was a wonderful celebration of what it has meant to be a mom from then until now. My family also gave me a wonderful gift.  It’s the image here, a painting of three birds.  There are three of us and I love birds.  If you’ve been in our home you’ve seen all the bird art work we own.  The pieces of my life, my work, my favorite moments of being all coalesced this Sunday to make a very holy and special day.  Life is a blessing and I’m so glad we get to celebrate it...
Enjoying The Gentle Breeze

Enjoying The Gentle Breeze

This year we planted a garden.   Last night I cleaned and reorganized my vanity.  Sometimes I sit on the Sellwood Bridge on a bench overlooking the river and watch the birds dance in the air as one of my favorite songs plays on my iPod and the warm evening breeze lifts my hair off my neck.  I am celebrating  that life is good and I am happy.  That hasn’t always been the case. In this work we do as church planters, we get reminded at every training and in every book that it is a very hard thing to start a new faith community.  Sustainability, the pressure to succeed, the vulnerability to reach out to new people, all can take a huge toll.   Over the course of our time here at Sellwood a lot of various factors led me to a place where I was not okay, but muddling through.  Luckily I am surrounded by people who know how hard life can be and who remind me of the wholeness God promises to us in sabbath rest and in loving ourselves.  Through things like questions on the quarterly report I send to the regional church to the support of my community I have been able to recognize just how much I was struggling and I was able to ask for help.  This past year I feel like I have been coming back to myself. This journey has been a rich one, and while we always long to not endure suffering, I think that I am so much stronger, better, wiser, and more able to handle my life...
Getting Ready

Getting Ready

In July SFC will launch into a crazy new reality, a collaborative ministry with a traditional church in the next neighborhood over. As we prepare for this work we’ve been praying and talking as a community about the logistics of the collaboration for our portion of the community.  One of the ways we are preparing to enter in to relationship with the folks of Trinity UMC is by praying for them by name.  Over the next 8 weeks we will take a select group of names and lift them up on Sunday, sharing those names in our weekly email for continued prayer.  While we plan the schedule, think about themes for the first sermon series, and map out our office spaces, we will be grounding our work in prayer for the future of our community and the people we will be joining in following God. Please offer up your own prayers and love for both Trinity and SFC as we get ready to go on a wonderful, holy adventure together....