Singing a New Song

Singing a New Song

Today as I finally finished setting up my work space in the new collaborative Southeast Portland Parish office at Trinity UMC I set aside some time for my daily devotionals.  The psalm for the day is 86 and my reading began with: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; I instantly started singing a song that I learned when we served the church in Yakima.  When we sang that same song, Cry of My Heart, at the church in Veneta we sang it a little differently.  With our worship leaders guiding us it took on a more gospel feel than the slightly edgy rock way the worship band did it in Yakima. As we begin a new adventure this week with the Southeast Portland Parish I know that I will learn to sing old songs in new ways.  I will also learn new songs.  One of the most rich spiritual gifts of the SFC community for me has been the music that one of our leaders, Ace Waters, brings to our gatherings.  So many weeks I find myself in tears as we sing.  Sometimes the music he chooses speaks to the pain of losing someone, or reminds me of the way our world cries for justice, or stirs my soul with hopefulness as we sing of God’s grace. And the tears flow as the music transcends the moment and unites our community in the spirit. Sometimes when singing old songs in new ways I want to do it the old way, the way that reminds me of the past and the people who I once...
Summer Art

Summer Art

This summer my daughter and I are focusing on art.  She was really hoping to have an art class during the school year, but wound up in other awesome electives instead.  This week we are engaging with landscape art.  I have a friend who is a painter and she is hosting us in her backyard, teaching Paige how to think about perspective, light, and lines. As I’ve watched a scene emerge from a blank canvas I’ve been thinking about learning by trying, which is basically my ministry philosophy.  My friend has been painting for years, so she intuitively knows how to shadow a hillside or bring clouds to life.  For my daughter this painting is about experiential learning.  When she started mixing colors she was conservative in her approach, yielding a tiny batch of a particular shade.  She struggled to achieve her design with such little paint, so began to be more and more liberal with her portions as she mixed. My friend could have simply told her to use more, but letting Paige figure it our for herself is a much more rewarding experience for everyone in the end.  My daughter did get frustrated at points. This was when Nancy, who is a good teacher, began to ask questions.  “What do you think will happen if you do that?”  “What do you see?”  She also was encouraging, saying things like, “You are developing such a great eye.”  or “I love the movement in this section.” I do not expect Paige’s painting to be a masterpiece.  Just like her first poem or song or story wasn’t.  Just like my...
Setting Up Shop

Setting Up Shop

This week I’ve packed two boxes and bought a standing desk.  Amanda and I have talked about the art work we’ll be hanging in our new collaborative office at Trinity UMC and we have an appointment next week to buy chairs. We’ll be liberating her table from the SFC house basement.  It will be used as a space for meeting and dreaming together and with leadership teams. It’s exciting to be in this not quite yet place.  We’re making plans and setting up systems and ways of being.  It’s a time of possibility and potential.  I have this frission of excitement in me, and a little bit of nervousness.   I know that in the next few months I am going to learn a ton. We are ready to begin and that is a beautiful thing.  I can’t wait to share with you about the new life of the Southeast Portland Parish as we launch on July 1!   -Eilidh...
Those Pesky Details

Those Pesky Details

One of the more experimental parts of our life as a new church has been the administration piece. With the new Southeast Portland Parish we had to think through all sorts of issues.  How was money going to be handled between the two groups?  Who was responsible for the SFC house and the insurance and property taxes that go along with the house?  Once we came up with a way forward that led to all sorts of other questions, such as how to incorporate a faith community.  I’m learning a lot about all of these things and while we have amazing conference staff walking with us we are not their only responsibility. Right now the plan is that Trinity UMC will open a new checking account that will be for payroll.  Both SFC and Trinity will pay in to that account, Trinity at the amount they are paying for their current pastoral staff package and SFC for the rest of Amanda, Jeff and my salaries.  For those super in to numbers, Trinity is paying about 36% of the total cost for the three of us, which means the rest is coming from the grant we received and the giving of SFC.  This helps both faith communities to retain control of their assets and as we begin life together it is important that each side feel safe. Trinity has a large endowment and SFC has a substantial balance we are bringing in due to our frugal spending and the generous giving of our folks over the past 4 years.  Once we are clear about the way forward maybe we can...