Sunday, June 04, 2017

Pentecost, the Great Outdoors, & the Gift of Ministry

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This is my last Sunday at Bridge St. United Church as I retire...except that we're not at Bridge St. today. Originally I asked that May 28th would be my last Sunday for worship leadership, but that proved to be the Sunday of  the annual meeting of Bay of Quinte Conference in Brockville. Our nephew Michael Putnam was ordained during last weekend's Sunday morning service, so we made the change of date.

God moves in nifty ways. Today is Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian church in the liturgical calendar. It's a wonderful reminder that we are called to be the faithful community of followers, whomever might be leading. This is also our annual Outdoor Service and Picnic Sunday. You may have figured out by now that I love being outside in the beauty of God's Creation. In retirement I hope to offer opportunities for people to gather out-of-doors for worship, so today is a meaningful start.

You can also imagine that I've been doing a lot of pondering about past, present, and future in ministry, having served six pastoral charges in three different provinces, and five Conferences, during 37 years. I've been preparing for ministry and active as a pastor since I was nineteen. I haven't really known anything else in my adult life, so I'll have to figure out the next stages.

As I have dismantled my study I took down a page of Principles and Assumptions from an Episcopal congregation in New York City called St. Bartholomew's. They still ring true for me today, and they give me hope for "disorganized religion."

Grow or go
Radical welcome
52 equal Sundays
Powerful worship
Loose around the edges, solid at the core
Bias toward the next person through the door
Not a club
Belong before you believe
Add staff before growth
Growth, not maintenance

I like 'em all, some more than others. I'll let you figure which ones I appreciate most.

I figure I'll still write my Lion Lamb blog, although as a civilian now. I'm not sure how often, but you'll see.

Thanks to you all. My life has been immeasurably better as a Christian who has also served Christ in ministry. And I have been blessed by those I've served.

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1 comment:

Laurie said...

Enjoy retirement. My husband retired 2 years ago. Best thing he ever did, as he says. Thank you for your service to the church. I really enjoyed your sermons, You were up to date and always said something that made me think and question. Your service at my Aunt Doris's funeral was heartbreaking. Thank you. Hope you and Ruth enjoy your coming years. and I REALLY hope you keep your blog up.