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New Tricks for Old Dogs

This week I started a continuing ed program with the Kaleidoscope InstituteKI was created by Rev. Dr. Eric Law in 2006 to equip ministry leaders who could help communities respond to "Christ’s call to respect the dignity of every human being by seeing Christ in each person."

KI trains leaders in a "system of skillsets, resources, practices, and theology for communities to use to develop high impact ministries that are sustainable." They are designed to help communities develop "intercultural competency, embrace a culture of anti-racism, practice inclusion, explore new ministry incubation, foster stewardship, guide community transformation, and support overall congregational vitality."

I had known about KI for quite some time but, on the nudge of my Spiritual Director, I took another look and found that this is just what I have been praying for as I looked at how I wanted to resource our ministry in 2024.

Knowing this would be a pivotal year at FCCUCC, I wanted to deepen my ability to facilitate difficult conversations, learn more about my leadership style, and grow my intercultural competencies so that I can be a better Intentional Interim Minister. And knowing that I need my process skills to be held in a theological framework, it is a real gift to have started the facilitator training with KI.

The classes started online this week and I was gifted with only one other student, someone I've known since seminary days! We are both doing Interim Ministry so it was a delight to feel so at home right away. As we dove into the material I could see so much of what I have learned over the years reflected in the materials being presented. AND, I could see the places that are new and different, places that are going to challenge me to reflect on what I do and how I do it.

This old dog is excited about the new tricks that I get to learn! New tricks that I can't wait to share with you.

I took my initial interim training between 2006 and 2008, after I completed my seminary education. In school I took classes in change theory, conflict management, and family systems theory. I wanted to be a good pastor and understand the communities I was serving as well as the challenges they would face. Since that time, I have read a lot about the impacts of trauma on people and communities, trained with several high-level trauma specialists, shifted my approach to a more collaborative model, and tried my best to improve so I can bring the best that I have to each community I serve.

What this first class reminded me is that I still have lots of room to improve. There are new ideas and contexts that I don't know anything about. There are ways that my skills have slipped and need refreshing. There are things I don't know about myself that I get to discover and make adjustments to improve my vision around my blind spots. And there is this beautiful opportunity to keep remembering that I need you to help me be my best self.

This isn't about taking care of me. It is about being reminded, through loving honesty, when I am not living into the values, the ideals we share as partners in ministry.

Values expressed in our Covenant that says we ,

Value inclusivity and embraces diversity.

Seek to be people of extravagant welcome, respecting the spiritual life and journey of each person.

Practice listening to the “Still Speaking God” who emboldens us to

Seek Justice, Love Kindness, and Walk Humbly with our God. (Micah6:8)

I look forward to my Lenten Journey with KI and I look forward to discovering how we will be challenged to live more fully into our values and ideals. As I said last week, there may be big water ahead, but I can't imagine a community I would like to be in the raft with any more than you!

Blessings on our Lenten journey,

Pastor Robin

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