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Pastor’s Ponderings for February 2023

Have you ever felt as if you are looking into a black hole as you prepare to write or speak on something? Sometimes it can feel that way to me when it’s time to write a newsletter article. It can be hard to know what is relevant, interesting, or useful to you. Rather than once again just taking a stab in the dark, I thought I’d ask – what are the questions or wonderings you have? What type of “articles” are beneficial to you and/or the life of this congregation? Please weigh in – these are not rhetorical questions.

Also, what type of study or other faith development activities have value to you? I imagine that these sorts of activities might be covered in a one time event – say as a Saturday retreat, or as a time-limited series, or over a longer period of time such as might happen with an in depth Bible study. Please share ideas. (Sometimes I am told that people want things to be “like they were,” but it’s not clear what that means, let alone whether the people who led the activities are around and willing to provide the same sort of leadership now.)

Over my years here, I have asked you about “meeting up” to get to know each other (at your homes/backyards, over a beverage somewhere, or via zoom) and some of you took me up on that — or initiated the idea of a backyard gathering, that I then “stole”. For those of you who didn’t respond with invitation, or take me up to set a date when asked directly, I have assumed that such personal connection isn’t comfortable (especially when a couple of younger people regularly participating in worship but “new” to BSLC stopped participating after I asked them out for coffee and conversation). If I have misinterpreted or if things have progressed enough that you are more comfortable with gathering. Please let me know – and I mean that. Really.

And if there are people you visit and are willing to take me to visit, that’s another opportunity for us to connect!

I am aware that this is not the first time you have seen me ask for input, ideas, feedback, or the like. One person’s comment came to me through another person, that she only wants to come to worship and that’s it. That may very well represent what many of you feel. It would be helpful to know that as well so I don't keep trying to come up with ideas for connecting folks or stimulating spiritual growth and instead end up overwhelming people’s level of interest.

Not knowing what people expect or want is what generates a sense of looking into a black hole when trying to decide what to write or what to offer in an attempt to engage or nurture the interests of more people. What matters for this faith community to be and do? What might enrich your faith journey, and your connection in the people of God?

Enough on that – if you’ve hung in there until now, I’m impressed! A few things to catch up on: As most of you know, Jill H began working in the office at the first of the year. Thank you to those who have extended to her a word of welcome. Having someone with familiarity of our congregation and with the peculiarities of church office work take on the role so long filled by Mariellen, is a real gift to me and to the congregation. There is still necessary onboarding work underway, and there is so much less needed than would have been required in other circumstances. Among other things that will help in this transition time, we ask that you update any information that you know is out of date – including those who should be on the prayer list, who should be getting hard copies of the newsletter, and other places communication might fall through cracks in the transition.

Blessings as we continue on in ministry together. Pastor Jean

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