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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010



I always know when someone approaches me and launches a conversation with the word “So…” that we’re likely going somewhere interesting. Where we’ll go may be indicated by the tone or the inflection in their voice:

Sometimes it’s a questioning tone. “So?” And away we’ll go into trying to find some answers to some questions they’ve been puzzling over. “So what do you do when a ten-year-old brings a friend to communion and we will offer the communion to the friend but we know our kid hasn’t been baptized?” Hmmm, maybe we can address that question with our apostle or the author of the Sacraments book, but I, personally, think we’re on shaky ground here. So did the pastor who posed the question, I suspect.

This week we’re spending with our CPI pastors in an intense week focusing primarily on the “gathering ministries.” We’re considering much of what happens when we as congregations come together, whether in worship or fellowship or disciple formation or education or potluck or …

Our “coming together” takes up a great big piece of what pastors and members pay attention to. If you’ve been listening to or reading much of what Carman has been preaching or posting you’ve heard him repeatedly remind us about the very important ministry that goes on outside our gathering times. We do need to work on balancing our ministries more with inviting and witnessing or sending each other out to bring service and this truly IS important. But for this week, we need to talk about what goes on in that long list of things we do together.

“So…” many conversations begin as part of an extended conversation. Maybe we’ve been talking about conflict in a congregation. “So... how do we deal with this personality clash that looks as if it could turn into a real family feud...?” Oh my, there’s a real “so…” what do we do with this? Can you imagine what the tone and the inflection is as we considered that challenge?

“So…” many conversations are happening this week. Some of them will be about some new techniques and practices your pastors may be bringing home. Some will be about deep concerns that your pastor may be carrying on his or her heart. Maybe they don’t even know how to talk about it or what to ask. So they just come up to me and say “so…” in a way that suggests we need to go somewhere we may not have gone before.

It’s good for us to be in a retreat setting. We will be spending lots of time in formal class work, but we’ll also be spending time at meals, or taking long walks along the Scarborough bluffs, or hunkered down in a lounge at midnight after the evening’s fun has ended. And much of the hardest and best work we do will have started with some version of “so…”

We appreciate your prayers for us this week.

Posted by Marion

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