Updated: Mar 23
Last month I asked you to grab your paddles, take just what you need, and join me as we, together, push off into our uncharted territory.
I know, for some of you, this time of transition doesn’t feel at all "uncharted." Several of you have said...
"We just did this!"
"We know who we are."
"We know what we want in a minister."
I hear you. I have yet to meet a church where a portion of the community wasn't feeling that way during the interim season. It is natural! Particularly when the last pastorate was shorter than expected or some unresolved trauma was in the mix.
Grief and Trauma
The Pandemic has left many a congregation with new grief and trauma on top of old. So many pastors are burned out and stepping away from ministry for a season, or permanently. When I left Hawaii in November of 2020 I was feeling traumatized and exhausted. I was grieving the loss of a hoped-for long ministry on Maui. I was struggling with feelings of failure after a shoter-than-expected ministry with people I loved.
When I left Maui and I stepped onto the tarmac in Medford, OR I entered what I called my Year of Unknowing. I committed to allowing the not-knowing as well as the un-learning to open places within me that grief and trauma had closed off. I leaned into my therapist and Spiritual Director and headed to the hills to re-member myself with compassion and hope.
The faithfulness of the Spirit over the year still astounds me. That uncharted territory allowed me to fall in-love with hiking, camping, the mountians and the forests of Southern Oregon. The wide and wildness of the western US encouraged me to say yes to a sabbatical interim in Ashland, a three week camping adventure in September, and a two month interim in Medford before coming here to be with you. Each of these experiences invited me to move more deeply into my Year of Unknowing, trusting that the One Who Holds the Map knows where I am going, even when I do not.
The Wild Edge of Healing
It seems to me that FCUCC is on a similar journey, one that I am humbled to be guiding you through, with God's help. I invite you to embrace the Unknowing and let the expanse of not-knowing and un-learning find you in the most unexpected ways. I know the desire to speed ahead to solutions or outcomes will be strong and I encourage you to slow down and let grief have her day. Know that I have been there and that I am here to accompany you along the way. Let the wideness and the wildness of our amazing western landscape soothe your soul, even as the fear of not knowing wants to pull you off course.
And if your journey through your Year of Unknowing is like mine, there will be unimaginable blessings for you just over the horizon. So I say once again, grab your paddles, take just what you need, and let's keep moving into our uncharted territory where the wideness and wildness of God's mercy abounds.
To the Journey!