Farewell Reflections

Farewell Reflections

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Typically at this moment, between the advent of Christ and the arrival of a New Year we pause to ponder. This year we are not so sure of whether we want to reflect on or shake the dust off our shoes at the parting of 2020.

But, as this year comes to an end so does my time serving among you as a Bridge Conference Minister. And it has been quite a time. Typically I have put 3 to 5 thousand miles on my car each month traveling to meetings and visits and preaching. This year I don’t think I have added that much to my odometer since that last New Year’s Eve. On the other hand, I’ve developed quite the collection of masks, many of them crafted or given by folks. It’s been a long year.

And we have accomplished a lot along the way. We deepened our understanding of how to be a faithful people of God during a pandemic. We’ve stepped up to commit more fully to our pledge to unmask, dismantle and eradicate racism. We’ve confronted the uncertainty of an anxious election cycle. And through it all there has been a constant: God.

Now I don’t want to say that to be pithy or pious or persuasive (I still love alliteration). I say that because I have experienced its truth. I have experienced God in meetings with staff wrestling with adapting and impacting throughout a transition year. I have experienced Christ in emails and webinars and Zoom meetings with clergy sharing their learnings and exhaustion with openness and vulnerability. I have experienced it with our Board of Directors who keep at their center the Vision God has given us as they guided the newly forming Conference though all the permutations of this year. I have experienced it with search teams and interviews as we listened to the voice and movement of the Holy Spirit that was so present throughout the hard choices and amazing opportunities that presented themselves to us.

And words in a blog cannot convey the depth of those experiences; I only ask you to know how powerful and moving they have been for me.

That tells me a lot about your future. Transformation has always been at the heart of our sacred text.  And transformation is counter to our fundamental longing for predictability and stability. God calls us out of our comfort zone, and we try to get back in. Few organizations or organisms can take the journey of faithful transformation. That pull back to status quo and homeostasis is powerful.

But our Conference (and our historic Conferences) made a choice. We received a vision from God and chose to shape ourselves around it.
  • We will be founded on discipleship: letting the Holy Spirit guide what we will become.
  • We will be agents of change, bringing God’s transformation into our lives and world.
  • We will partner with Christ to bring God’s realm of love and justice more fully into our world.
  • We will seek covenant partners outside our familiar walls who can help us see ourselves more clearly and honestly so that we can minister together in God’s world.

We have shaped this into the adaptations we made to the resources and support we developed as the pandemic unfolded. We have shaped it through the staffing searches grounded in what God is calling us to become. We have let living the love and justice of Jesus become the core of our choice.

And you have responded. From pulpits to pews you have embraced the possibility within the aspiration. You believe in what living the love and justice of Jesus could mean in our churches and communities.  You know that doing what we’ve been doing will only get us what we’ve already got. You have called your Conference to be its best self, walking humbly with God.
 
"When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.”

― Dean Jackson

Yes, this tells me a lot about your future, and I am envious. Now the next chapter begins as a new year dawns. And you are in good hands. Not just with an extraordinary Staff and Board of Directors, but a wonderfully human Staff and Board who are seeking to embody all that God has called them to be and to do. And what has been is only a step towards what will be in the imagination of God.

I used to sing this song to my kids at bedtime. It was written by Michael Joncas and based on Psalm 91.  It is God’s promise put to music and my blessing prayer for you:
 
“And God will raise you up on eagle’s wings

Bear you on the breath of dawn

Make you to shine like the sun

And hold you in the palm of God’s hands.”

 

Author

don-remick-2018.jpg
Don Remick

The Rev. Don Remick is Bridge Conference Minister

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