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Pastor's Ponderings: A season of exploration and adventure

As we are beginning a new program year, faces not seen in recent years bring delight with their presence, as do as the guests we continue to have worship with others associated with BSLC. We've yet to figure out how to make longer term connections with those who come to try out BSLC and check out the trustworthiness of the welcome we proclaim, and still have some self reflection to do before we can learn from those who stop by and then move on, but I take heart that the message we share with the community through our door installation continues to resonate. A congregation that proclaims God’s open doors serves an important role in this community.

In the midst of all this, there is also lots of conversation percolating and significant emotion is stirring as an invitation we’ve received receives consideration (i.e., whether or not we are called to sell land to use in providing affordable housing). Later in this newsletter are two “articles” written in response to questions raised by the Peace and Justice mission group, in case you have had similar questions. Here, however, I will share, and encourage you to participate in, two planned ways to participate in shaping BSLC’s path into the future.

On October 23, after worship and as the participatory part of “pastor appreciation day”, you are invited to participate in an activity we will use to identify the commonly held values that drive and define this congregation. In the weeks leading up to this interactive event, I’ll be “seeding your brains” for that event by asking you to reflect upon several thought prompts. (If you want to put your thoughts in writing and send them in/place them in the offering plate, go for it!)

The starting consideration is to describe what our ministry activity might look like if we identified the main focus (not only) we are called to give attention to and then worked to develop the best ministry presence we can have in that area. The reason to identify a main focus is to help guide decisions about where to commit our resources – including investments of attention, time, energy, and finances. It’s not to say other areas aren’t valued here, only acknowledging that no one congregation can “do it all” but we do have from God, ministry to do that is our own.

A second way to help shape BSLC is to participate in one of the small group processing “round tables” before we talk about which way to go in regard to the proposed affordable housing project. Groups of six (plus facilitator(s)) will use an opening activity 1 to help “see things for the other side”, and then share what is stirring in them in response to the offer, and why. Depending upon how these go, there could be a second round of small groups or a larger group where a cost/benefit analysis might be communally developed, and identification of what else needs to happen or be learned before it will feel like an informed community decision is possible. Another option is to have , the Director for Evangelical Mission from the SWWA Synod Joey Ager Office facilitate another sort of group processing; Joey has background in community organizing around affordable housing matters, and is the person on the synod staff now overseeing the wider affordable housing conversation in the synod.

I’m beginning by offering eight possible sessions, to see what days of the week and times are most beneficial to offer. To participate in one of these first small group conversations, please use this link: and mark one “best option” for you (I didn’t see a way to limit you to one “vote”). Each session is limited to six people plus facilitator(s), so when six people are signed up, that session will close. If you are not comfortable with or able to use the doodle poll, please call me at the office (or Mariellen) to get your name added (we can go over the open times with you when you call). Blessings as we continue to explore whys of our ministries and ways, and identify next steps we need to take in order to enter God’s preferred future for us. It’s an adventure!!

Pastor Jean

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