Seeing Beyond The Moment

Seeing Beyond The Moment

I just got back from a Disney Cruise to Alaska with my mom, my aunt, and my daughter.  It was a lovely time and one of the best vacations I have ever had.  We saw amazing shows, ate well, got to see glaciers, whales, eagles, seals, and icebergs, we visited interesting towns, and got to learn about the history and peoples of Alaska. I come home relaxed, a few pounds heavier, and thankful for the wonderful time with my family. And I come home thinking about the way our world works, aware of my own privilege and the ways that I want to interact with people. There’s a lot I don’t know about the people working for Disney that I met over the last few days. I do know that almost all of the people working as servers and room stewards are people of color while the cruise staff and cast members are almost all white. I know that I know nothing about what it might be like to be from Thailand or Indonesia or the Philippines and to work serving the largely white, largely American guests of the ship.  It was also interesting to notice the way the cast members who performed and stared in the shows were ignored when they were acting as character hosts.  When someone is on stage we see them in one way, when they are telling us it’s our turn to meet Mickey Mouse we almost see through them. So while I come home thankful and happy I also come home unsettled.  Is this the world I think God would imagine?  How do I...
Slow Your Roll

Slow Your Roll

This moth we are beginning the work of living in to this new, collaborative ministry at the Southeast Portland Parish.   As we do this work it would be easy to let it swallow us whole.  So Amanda, Jeff, and I are intentionally working to make time to slow down and take breaks.  We each have some time off planned, to unplug and appreciate the things we love.  Amanda and I are also taking some retreat time together to let God speak to us in the wild beauty of Timothy Lake.  It is important to take this sabbath time to rest in God, to take time to enjoy life and be with the people we love. May you find time this summer to slow down and create space to see more deeply and breath more easily....
We Are In This Together

We Are In This Together

 On Sunday afternoon I was completely out of energy.  This past week had been fairly intense.  It’s lots of work to move in to a new office and get all the pieces in place to pull off that first worship experience.  Physically I was tired from all the moving and unpacking.  Emotionally I was tired from the energy poured out to meet and connect with new folks.  Mentally I was tired from all the writing and planning we had done.  I was worried dinner would be a disaster. And then my family got home from their trip and began the work of setting up for the meal.  I walked to the store to buy some food and by the time I got home everything was ready.  When people began to arrive I felt like myself again. This work we do can be a heavy burden, but the thing I have learned is that I do not do it alone.  I can’t.  This is why our proposal for the Southeast Portland Parish included 3 clergy.  It takes a team to do this sort of creative, innovative work.  When I am depleted and out of ideas, Jeff and Amanda are there to carry on while I recover for a minute.  It’s not just times of low energy when we need the team.  Every idea we have is better when the three of us collaborate and discuss the idea together.  We bring our own perspectives and end up with a more complete idea than if just one of us was working alone. It’s not just with the staff that we work as...
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...