Thursday, May 21, 2009

February's Greeter Reflection

March's reflection is pretty good too, but anyways...

I would invite you to take an imaginary trip with me. Imagine you're on your way to your spouse's 20th family reunion, and you only know the immediate family members. Imagine upon arrival no one really talks to you, and you get the occasional smile or nod and then off this person goes. But everyone else around you appears to be having a good time talking and laughing with each other while you stand alone.

How do you feel in this moment?

Now imagine instead that your spouse's immediate family members take you by the hand and introduce you to people. Ensure that you're not left to yourself but are included within conversations and sharing.

How do you feel in this moment?

Greeting and religious communities fall into this scenario. How easy it is to change the scenario to:
I would invite you to take an imaginary trip with me. Imagine you're on your way to St. XYZ's for the first time, and you don't know any of the members. Imagine upon arrival no one really talks to you, and you get the occasional smile or nod and then off this person goes. But everyone else around you appears to be having a good time talking and laughing with each other while you stand alone.

How do they feel in this moment?

Now imagine instead that members of St. XYZ take this guest by the hand and introduce them to people. Ensure that they're not left to themselves but are included within conversations and sharing.

How do they feel in this moment? How do you feel?

That is the heart of our ministry.

I would invite others to share what their vision of our Greeting Ministry is with me, with each other, and with fellow members. Why is Greeting vital to you and our church? What do you hope for and envision for our team?

Greeting is vital to me because without hospitality we are not welcoming, without the gift of presence to each other and our guests we are only occupying a common space. Hospitality and mission go hand in hand, without one the other withers.

April's Greeter Reflection

I want to thank everyone for all you do, that to all our guests, and to those who become newcomers our hospitality matters.
We all want our church to feel warm and inviting; this is especially so for the guests and newcomers among us. We all want our church to be that place where we hear God calling to us, to feel the Holy Spirit amongst us, to see Jesus being lived out within our community.
Each Sunday I'm reminded of two things (1) that when in a room full of people who believe that will world should be a better place - that it can be (2) that God is in the ordinary moments of our lives.
Those moments when we say hello, when we stop to listen, when we do something that seems so very normal to us, can be extraordinary to someone else.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Greeter Reflection

I've been thinking of sharing some of my greeter reflections, so here's May's:

This month's reflection is slightly different. A friend of mine gave me a book for my birthday entitled, "The Blessing of the Beasts." When I saw the cover and the title it made me smile and think oh how very Episcopalian. Then I read the front cover insert summarizing the story:

"Francesca and Martin originally met in a trash can: He had startled her by rising from the garbage, wearing a cap of coleslaw and a mustache of yogurt. As a young roach, Francesca was warned against churches; she knew personally of one entire roach family mercilessly crushed by the cleaning woman. As the service approaches Francesca yearns to be there, but Martin warns against: "I don't think that we are meant to be included, Francesca. It's for the respectables, the cute and cuddlies. We are outcasts, my dear. They'll never let us in."

And then I felt my heart crush and my smile wane, because there's a truth to this short exchange. It's in the missed opportunities. It's in our own fears. It's there when we fail all those we consider other. It's within the words there but for the grace of God go I. It's when we see ourselves separate from one another, we miss opportunities to let someone who's different into our lives.

I invite you to pray this month, pray for what your deepest hopes and dreams are for [insert your church] and for yourselves.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Landlord News

So the wife came home last night with "guess what I found out" news. So once the kiddos were in bed she told me that she was talking to a co-worker who asked where we moved to, and then her co-worker asked how it was going. The wife replied not so well, at which the co-worker replied yeah, my sister and her boyfriend and their dog used to live there. They had to break the lease and get a lawyer because of harassment. One of the details the co-worker shared was that the landlord was calling and texting over 16 times a day, and that even the judge was like what is wrong with these people. The co-worker said that it didn't get better over time but got worse.

Yesterday I had a talk with a co-worker asking him for his advice and he said get a lawyer they're harassing you. I put a call into Vermont's free tenant legal-aid to see what we can do. I also set up a filter that puts their emails into a special folder and marks them as read - this way I don't know when the emails will be arriving, and we'll check the special folder twice a month.

So, we'll see. If we end up sending the landlords anything, it's going to need to come on official looking paper preferably signed by a lawyer, and then it will get really ugly.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bad News for Many of My Friends

A friend of mine called me yesterday afternoon to say that 40 of my used-to-be co-workers (and many of them friends) were fired. For many of the people gathered for the10am meeting it came as a huge shock. It was heartbreaking to listen to him tell me how it all unfolded. Where I used to work it was this place of intgrity, pride, and family - now it's cut-throat and about money.

I hope that for all of them unexpected doors of opportunity open, and open quickly.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Re-posting a story about a pastoral care visit

This is a beautiful post: - it's longish, but worth reading through to the end.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Random poem

To see you through
that lense which never lies

To heal you with
hands that never tire

To walk with you
in the garden of now

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Moved In and Making Progress Mostly

Well, we're all moved in, mostly unpacked. We have to take the stuff we literally stuffed into the closets and then rearrange the contents to better places. Currently, mine and the wife's winter clothes have no home and my regular clothes are draped over a chair.

Just caught the cable guy, the apppointment person gave me the wrong time...very happy to be plugged back in at home.

But, gave the keys to the 'old' place back yesterday. The landlord was supposed to be there to do a walk-through but didn't show. So I called the husband who then called the wife who then called me back to say leave the keys and you'll get your deposit back. So, I left a phone message and an email with my new address - ugh. But, I'm very happy to not having to pay heat or electricity for two places. I'm hoping we'll also get some pro-rated rent, but we'll see.

Our next door neighbors who know the new landlords well - seem nice, they helped us move the washer and dryer since my friend and I just could lift them - mostly cause I couldn't lift them. I don't think I have too many more move myselfs left in me.

Had my 3rd meeting with my pastor this morning (grrr with self - forgot to turn off cell phone - luckily it only rang once). I think it went well, not as big a high as last months, but still good. I left him with 3 pages worth of me anwsering the questions he'd asked. Next month Spiritual Autobiography and Ministry Project thoughts.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Hoping for Sunshine

Tonight and tomorrow are the big moving days. I took off half day yesterday, because the weather was incredible (and today is rain, rain, rain), so I moved as much as I could by myself.

Looking forward to meeting number three with my pastor coming up very soon...but I'm also nervous, worried that I didn't perhaps answer everything he'd asked, but I think I did. And my answers are longer, and I'm worried we won't get through everything.

It was a neat week (aside from stinky landlords). An old friend who had played such a big part in my life during middle school found me on Facebook, which led to connecting to other classmates who I'd never stopped wondering about. And guess what, we're all gay; though we never told each other then. But, eight years in catholic school doesn't encourage those types of conversations. I still have these mental images of us as kids, and to see what we all look like can still see some of that.