I started hinting at this blog post last January when I mentioned in a former blog post that the image of Holy Breadcrumbs may have served its purpose. I began writing under this title in January of 2018 as I became convinced that a new vision for the presbytery was not going to come from a handful of bright, creative visionaries sitting around a boardroom table. I felt strongly that in the current context of ongoing change and uncertainty that a vision was going to have to be teased out.

pathwayRather than having one comprehensive vision out ahead of us, I felt that we would have to arrive at our vision “one holy breadcrumb at a time.” I come with experience in pilgrimages and one of the great lessons from the pilgrim life is one learns to trust the path right in front of our feet without the certainty of knowing where one might get their next meal or lay their head at night.

But today I need to say goodbye, at least for now.

It is now clear that the period of teasing out a vision and loosening the ecclesiastical soil of the presbytery has run its course. It is time now for strategy and planning. It is time to move from a plethora of possibilities to a commitment to specific plans. It is time to turn potential dreams into budget line items.

I will continue to communicate with the presbytery as we move through this time. But I imagine that my communications will fall more in the category of updates, progress reports, as well as attempts at making meaning of our emerging life together.

Woodburn 1I do know that I will continue to write even as my particular voice will shift. All of my pastoral work prior to taking this position was as a solo pastor. The weekly rhythm of scriptural reflection, sermon writing and preaching is in my bones. When I first accepted this position one of the members of the church where I was serving was thrilled for me but also said, “This doesn’t mean you will quit preaching, does it? I can’t imagine you not preaching.” I told him that I would find a way somehow to keep my weekly practice alive. My weekly Holy Breadcrumbs served that purpose.

I enjoy the writing and many of you say you look forward to it weekly. So, I imagine that I will come back at some point under a new title and with a more appropriate theme. Maybe the need will be to share stories of where God is showing up as we step into a new vision. Maybe the need will be to continue to look at the world through the lens of faith and spiritual eyes. Maybe the need will be to continue to provide a hopeful word as the church loses one kind of life on the path to living into a new kind of life.

As with all things pilgrimage-related, however, the landscape changes. Needs shift. The path goes another direction. One thing disappears; another emerges.

So, goodbye, for now.

I’ll see you around the next corner.

By Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision and Mission, Presbytery of the Cascades

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