The Call Committee has begun their work finishing up the MSP (Ministry Site Profile). As you approach this time, I would like to share some words with you from a pastor in Massachusetts that were submitted and published in a Dear Abby column:
One of the toughest tasks a church faces is choosing a good minister. A member of an official board undergoing this painful process finally lost patience. He'd watched the pastoral relations committee (this would be yor Call Committee) reject applicant after applicant for some fault, alleged or otherwise. It was time for a bit of soul-searching on the part of the committee. So he stood up and read a letter purporting to be from another applicant.
"Gentlemen: Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications. I've been a preacher with much success and also have had some success as a writer. Some say I'm a good organizer. I've been a leader most places I've been. I'm over 50 years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than three years. In some places, i have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. i must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of wrongdoing. My health is not too good, though I still get a great deal done. The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities. I've not gotten along well with religious leaders in towns where I ahve preached. In fact, some have threatened me and even attacked my physically. I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I baptized. However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you."
The board member looked over the committee. Well, what do you think? Shall we call him? The good church folks were aghast. Call an unhealthy, trouble-making, absentminded ex-jailbird? Was the board member crazy? Who signed the application? Who has such colossal nerve? The board member eyed them all keenly before he answered, "It's signed, 'the Apostle Paul.'"\
Edward Jeffery said, "People expect the clergy to have the grace of a swan; the friendliness of a sparrow; the strength of an eagle; and the night hours of an owl."
Calling a settled pastor isn't so much as to who you want as it is who you need.
For the past month or so, I have been standing at my front window and watching my garden patch turn from brown to green, and now to an array of colors. Oh, how I so enjoy the spring!, watching all of the flowers pop-up through the dirt and begin their process of growing and blooming.
It is easy to see winter as a time in which plants do nothing. They go to "sleep" until the temperature rises and they are awakened to become what God has intended them to be. But that can't be farther from the truth. There is a lot happening during witner that we simply don't see. It is a time in which the flowers and trees are preparing for their upcoming growth spirt. They are preparing to be the best that they can be.
The church is no different. There are many times in which we are going through "winter," a time of preparing ourselves to be what God is calling us to be. A time in which it doesn't appear that much is happening, yet there is a great deal going on beneath the soil. Interim time can feel this way.
The Transition Team has been hard at work gathering information about who Trinity is, for the Ministry Site Profile (MSP). Their work is almost ready to emerge from what may appear to some as a dormant state. What they have been working on beneath the soil will soon be breaking through and showing its greenness as you begin gathering to discuss what they have heard you say.
God is actively preparing Trinity for its future in ways we can and cannot see. God is creating Trinity in a way similar to the "tree of life" that we, Central and Trinity College created this past Lenten Season. The ground is cultivated, roots develop, a trunk or stem shoots out from the dirt and grows, branches develop, leaves are produced, and like Easter, flowers will bloom.
Remember to keep the Transition Team, Trinity, and your next pastor in your prayers. God is preparing you for your next pastor, and your next pastor for you.
Your sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana Bottin
In some ways my heart is saddened. Many of the lights that have been up for the past month are gone. The stores have replaced all the Christmas songs with the normal yearly tunes. They have also replaced the Christmas section with gifts for Valentine's. It is the flow of the year.
The bright spot that I cling to during this time of the year is the fact that we have had the longest night of the year - it was on December 21st. That means the nights are getting shorter and the days are getting logner.
This month we will be celebrating the time of Epiphany. The light has entered the world and the darkness cannot overcome it. It is a time in which we celebrate the revealing of who this baby Jesus is, and the God that became incarnate to bring Good News to ALL people.
This Christmas Season I saw Trinity come together to help support 45 families in need. Many of those families don't have ties to Trinity. What a great example of what the church is about. We as the church are here for those who are not here. We come to this place to be filled so that we can show the light of Christ to those who are not here. This is Epiphany!
We are the bearers of the light that has come into the world. The spreaders of the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who are outside the church. Sometimes this can be a difficult change in thinking. Just as the people of Israel struggled with the concept that God came to save even the gentiles, we in the church can struggle with the concept that the church is not here for "us", but we, as the church, are here for those who are outside our doors.
Yes, the days are becoming longer and summer will be upon us soon, but there is still a great deal of darkness in our world. Darkness in which the light we carry is begging to illuminate. When we were baptized a candle was lit and the presiding minister said "Let your light so shine".
Let the light of Christ that shines through you, personally and as a congregation, shine during this time of Epiphany and throughout the remainder of the year.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends'.
- Mark 5:18-19a
We all have heard and spoken this one little word. We have all had this one little word spoken to us. Often it is at a time in which we would rather hear “YES”. It is not always easy to say it or accept it, but when it is spoken in love it is a gift that frees us to be who God is asking us to be.
No’s come in many shapes and forms. It can be spoken or implied. It can come from what is perceived as road blocks to where “we” want to go or do.
You may recall the hit song from Garth Brooks “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers”. It
wasn’t until the person looked back on his life that the “No” he received was in reality a gift of “Yes” to many other gifts.
When we receive those no’s, and we will, remember that they are not being said to discourage us but to encourage us to press on, to seek new ways in which God is asking us to use our gifts. Perhaps it is time to look at the issue(s) at hand in a new light, and maybe even begin walking in a completely different direction.
Transition is the time to look at other avenues into which God is calling you. It is a time of stretching and growing in a direction that for some may be a little uncomfortable. That’s okay. The no’s we receive are to help us grow in places that are new and sometimes scary to us. That is the gift and grace of “No”.
Christmas is coming. Gifts will be exchanged. Is one of the gifts you need to give or receive the gift of grace heard in the word “NO”?
Your sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana Bottin
Fall has officially begun. The days are getting shorter and colder. The rains have returned, and the hustle and bustle of church activities is in full swing. Throughout the next few months we will be celebrating many "holidays" beginning with Reformation Sunday.
Often we think of Reformation as something that happened in 1517. But in reality, Reformation, and what Martin Luther believed to be reformation, is an ongoing process. It is continuing to look at the church, its practices and teachings, and asking questions. The message has, and always will remain the same, but the way in which the message is conveyed must change as the world changes. The question is, "What are we doing and saying to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a manner in which all people are able to hear and understand it?"
Reformation is not new. It actually began at the very beginning. All one needs to do is read Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created. God changed what was into something new and different in order to convey God's love and grace. And God will continue to create and covey the love and grace for all on the corner of 24th and Lombard.
During the next several months, the Transition Team will be asking some very hard questions about how God is calling Trinity to spread the Gospel. Trinity is, and will be, reforming. This is one of our core values as Lutherans.
Your sister in Christ,
Interim Pastor Diana Bottin
Why, why why? This is the first question our kids learn to ask, and it seems to be their favorite fro years. Why this, why that, why, wh, why? They ask this question because it is how we as humans grow and mature in our actions and thoughts. When the questin stops being asked, we stop seeing the possibilities because we are unable to see beyond the way we think and do things now.
Over the past several weeks, a number of you have commented on how glad you were that I was back as your interim. My response has shocked many of you. I've asked the old question, WHY?
I don't ask the question for any person gratification or to "puff" myself up, but to get you to think about what it is about my being back you like (or don't like) to help you to begin to articulate what it is that you are looking for in your next pastor.
This question of "why" will be one ask ask often. So yes, I get to act like that w year old - why, why, why. Why do you do what you do? Why is it important to you? All these whys will help once a transition team is appointed and begins working with the congregation in developing the Ministry Site Profile.
She’s back! Yes, I have returned which means Trinity is officially in the interim process. So what does that mean?
First, a number of things have been happening here at Trinity over the past 6 months, to say the least. The next few months, through summer, will be a time to breathe. Nothing significant will happen in the way of the interim process.
Second, when summer begins to come to a close you will start hearing about the need to form a transition team. This team will gather a great deal of information from you. Yes, what you have to say is and will be very important. This will take some time. The information it receives from you will help fill out a very large document entitled Trinity’s Ministry Site Profile (MSP). This document will be a “snap shot” of who Trinity is and where Trinity is going.
Third, when the transition team has done its work a call committee will be formed. The call committee will do some final work on the MSP, ask the congregation for feedback and approval of it, and then send it to the synod office. Once the synod office has the MSP, Bishop Unti will select Candidates for interviewing.
Forth, the interviews. This phase can take on many directions depending on a number of variables (too many to go into detail at this time). When a Pastoral Candidate has been selected as potentially Trinity’s new pastor a special congregational meeting will be called. A call cannot be extended until after this meeting.
Wow! Calling a pastor is a long process, but a good process in which God and the Holy Spirit is invited in and asked to help each step of the way. It has been proven over and over again that when a congregation “skips” or “rushes” through the work the process takes twice the time, or it turns out not to be a “good fit”.
We are on a journey. Journeys are not meant to be rushed through, but savored. This is the time to reflect on who you have been, who you are now, and who you want to be. Those are some deep reflections that can only be expressed by taking time.
time to pause
time to rest
time to celebrate
time to liberate
time to play?
This year during lent, we will be following a five session course written by Sue
Mayfield and Robert Warren looking at ways of finding a better balance in our lives. In particular we will explore the idea of the Sabbath – Sabbath days, Sabbath moments, Sabbath attitudes – and how they affect our use of time.
Sue Mayfield, one of the authors, writes….
“ Sabbath is about so much more than having a proper day off… It cuts right to the
heart of my self-perception, my relationship to Creator and Creation, my
understanding of the point and purpose of life, my response to poverty and injustice. Sabbath - in its fullest, most Biblical sense – challenges my workaholism, my need to appear busy in order to feel important, my tendency to define and justify myself in terms of what I’ve done or achieved, my self-sufficiency and control-freakery. Scary stuff!”
What better time than Lent to learn and relearn patterns for healthy, God-focused
living? And what better time to stop and be refreshed?
by Reverend Kirby Unti, Bishop of the NW Washington Synod | January 29, 2014
The Way of Kindness
"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35
Growing up I had a real hard time relating to my older brother. He was bright, a good athlete and an extremely high achiever. He also loved to tease his little brother. I was tormented by
him and often felt very angry. In fact on one occasion I threw a barbecue fork at him as he was running out of the house. Fortunately I missed but my intentions were clear, "I wanted to hurt him."
I had forgotten the worst of these childhood memories until a few days ago when I was
reflecting upon why is it that I have such a strong opposition to people being mean to one
another? My daughters will tell you how upset I would be with them if I thought they were
being mean. The answer to my question was obvious. It was about the how miserable I felt as
When I entered into middle school I got into an emotional grudge match with one of my
peers. I found myself employing the very acts of meanness that my brother had used on me.
In fact I invited as many of my friends as possible to join me in piling insults upon my friend.
Later in life she would take her own life. We renewed our friendship in high school but it has always bothered me that I was so mean to her.
I honestly believe we could change the world if we were committed to honoring the 8th
Commandment in the way Luther explained it when he said, "We should explain our
neighbor's actions in the kindest way." Kindness is the opposite of meanness. Meanness robs and destroys life. Kindness is filled with grace and can be so life giving.
Over the years my brother and I have been able to make amends. We became very close in
caring for our parents when they were dying. I saw in my brother a deep kindness. He was so tender with my mom and dad. He would anoint their bodies with lotion trying to massage
away their pain. He was there to comfort both of them when they took their last breaths.
This is my prayer for each of us and for all of our ministry sites. I pray that we would seek to be people who lean in the direction of kindness. I pray that we would be a people who withhold being mean spirited which often expresses itself in being so critical of one another. I pray that we would strive to explain our neighbor's actions in the kindness way.