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Meeting One Another Again

Dear Foothills community, 

I’m taking a big, deep breath as I write these words.  

It’s a breath of eager anticipation and excitement to see you all – I’ve missed you! I can’t wait to see you.

It’s a breath to tend to some anxiety I can feel, unsure what it will be like to return after the time away.   

It’s a breath of relief to be here, after this incredible time set-apart, to show up as I am, now, and to meet you as you are, now. 

And most of all, it’s a breath of gratitude. I cannot believe what a gift you have given me, and my family, and my ministry.  I’ve decided that everyone should get a sabbatical – that sabbaticals are a part of my vision of the Beloved Community! 

During my sabbatical, I’ve spent a lot of my time in my backyard, getting to know the dirt, the plants, the trees, the next-door-neighbor’s chickens, the rocks, the weeds, the squirrels. It’s been a time of resetting, both for my long-neglected garden, and for myself. 

There have been so many lessons along the way, but the one I want to start with, is about time. Which is, how much time it takes if you are going to really do the deeper work, the work of real transformation.

Sometimes, I’d realize that whole days had passed, and I’d barely made it more than a few feet further than I’d worked the day before. But this was what it took to get down deep, to make real change, to understand what is there, and also what is really possible. 

I start here because I think this is the invitation for us, too, as we move into this transition and reunion. 

It’s an invitation to go slowly, intentionally, carefully – and with curiosity and a sense of adventure for all that is possible.  

To really meet one another again, paying attention to the growth, the losses, the new curiosities we’ve experienced over this time. Noticing the shifts in the church system, in our individual lives, and in the world.  And for me to share the shifts in my life and sense of ministry.

To listen spaciously for who we are now, and for who we are becoming as we stretch forward into the years ahead.

It’s an intention that honors the time we’ve spent apart and the work that we’ve done, by taking this transition seriously.  And as this month’s series says, by taking it personally

It’s an intention that is not shallow, or superficial, but deep, and real. Which means most of all moving at a pace that tends to our whole system’s health, and wholeness.  I’ve been thinking this transition will take about the same amount of time I was away to feel complete.

It’s perfect to begin with this Sunday’s Water Communion – a ritual about gathering in, and a celebration of the ways we are changed simply by meeting one another, and by forming real and deep community. 

I am so looking forward to being with you again this Sunday. Be sure to RSVP here so we can send you all the details about the gathering – 10 am, Northside Aztlan Center. 

Another big breath. 

See you Sunday.

Gretchen

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