Dear Friends,

Cannon beach

Arriving at Cannon Beach for October doctoral intensive retreat

More than two months ago I reported that I had enrolled in and begun a Doctor of Ministry program at the Quaker-based, George Fox University. In that blog post I invited you on a transformational journey. I said that I expected that in order to lead and walk with our presbytery in this time I could not expect the presbytery to take a transformational journey unless I was also willing to open myself to transformation as a leader as well.

After a month of many conversations, prayer and reflection I have decided not to continue the program. I have reinforced in the presbytery that we live in a time of experimentation and innovation. My stepping into the program was based on the belief that I needed to invest in a structured and disciplined transformational program. As with all experiments one steps out boldly in faith and then trusts the process of unfolding. All decisions teach us something in this process.

It quickly became clear to me that committing an extra fifteen hours a week to reading and study was not going to serve my goals toward spiritual transformation. It became clear that my investment did not need to be in more study, but in more relational contact with presbytery leadership and churches and more self-care (read as more time with my grandchildren!)

Cannon Beach hike

View from cliff at Cannon Beach during a Mary Oliver silent meditation hike

I am sure there will be more to share down the road about this decision and what it means for me and our presbytery. But for now I just wanted to share the poem that I wrote the night before I reported this news to the other fourteen colleagues who had become close companions on this journey. For more than two months, we have shared ourselves in raw and vulnerable ways and I needed some way to reflect on what these fourteen loving souls meant to me. Here is my parting poem written to them (slightly edited):

In Christ We Meet

In Christ we meet
Our lives are but a moment
Our love is but a gift
Our time is God’s alone

The thread long or short
The window clear or foggy
The path unknown or revealed

Like waves we come and we go
We share our truth and we listen
We open our hearts and we trust

We were together before we met
We knew each other before we spoke
Our destinies were already colliding

In Christ we meet
In Christ we shall remain




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