Mark September 29 on your calendars for the first congregational conversation! More details will be coming soon. In the meantime, each week I’d like to share a few thoughts and a question for reflection. I will also be sharing a 6-week prayer calendar with you in the next couple of weeks. Note that in addition to mulling the pieces below, the transition team is engaging in weekly team-building conversations by email, and we will gather for a full-day training on September 14. Our virtual work will prime the pump for forward-thinking, relationship-building conversation once we are together in person.

Here are this week’s offerings:

Discernment is an attentiveness – cultivated in the head, heart, and gut – to God’s work in the world so that we might join God in those efforts. Wisdom about the matter for discernment unfolds in God’s time and through many of the same sources upon which decisions are made, plus some that might be discounted when acting purely on logic. Those in discernment continually turn over their own agendas in order to embrace the greater good to which God calls. Note that discernment is an end in itself, not just the means to an end. It is a pathway to a deeper relationship with God (and often, with others) and a way of understanding ourselves on a more profound level.

That said, decisions are sometimes warranted. Not every action requires a full-blown discernment process. Sometimes it is appropriate to gather information from a number of sources, evaluate it, and create actions and a timetable based on the outcomes of this analysis. In times of transition, however, discernment is often the more fitting approach, because pure decision-making does not include the difficult but essential prayer, “Not my way but yours, God.”

Reflection questions: What was the most difficult time in FBC’s history? What did we learn, and how did we change? What healing work remains to be done?

Grace and peace,
Laura Stephens-Reed

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