Late yesterday afternoon I received an e-mail from a faithful church member in rural Ontario. The words sounded harsh to me, questioning the Moderator’s priorities (going to Copenhagen) when the church at home needs so much attention. Most e-mail messages provide no real contact information, but this one had some clues. So I tracked down a phone number and had a good conversation with a wonderful woman last evening.
We discovered that we share many concerns: the health of rural communities undergoing huge demographic shifts; a desire to become more intercultural and relevant as church; a longing to see the church embracing—and embraced by—younger ones.
She said that she had written her e-mail to me in a moment of deep disappointment and frustration at the lack of felt support from presbytery—and yet she expressed compassion for the presbytery too, acknowledging that it was hard to know the whole story.
So true. We can’t possibly know the whole story without one another’s help. What I expected to be a conversation marked by distance and difference became a conversation of connection, of wider perspective and common purpose.
This is how I see soul, community, and creation—interwoven. I am praying for my sister in faith, and for her congregation as they move through a particularly stressful time. I continue to work with others in the General Council to address the kind of concern she carries as she too works to make things better in her congregation and presbytery.
As we said goodbye, her kind words of blessing sounded like a prayer for my well-being, and even hope for a fruitful time at the climate change talks.
She and I are each acknowledging deep longing, bringing it to each other in community and trying to make things better for our children and generations to follow them. This is the kind of conversation that changes the world—by God’s abundant, healing Spirit.
Have you had such conversations lately?