Seems odd to talk about getting a fresh start when I am over six months into my new cure as rector of Trinity, but that is exactly what is happening these past two days.
I arrived yesterday morning at the diocesan retreat center, Wapiti, for the opening gathering of the diocesan FreshStart program. This program started a while ago when a bunch of people at the national level got together to talk about supporting clergy in new cures. What can we do as a clergy community to support people as they enter a congregation, a new chapter in ministry, etc.; and then give them the resources to begin again/anew on the fly, but with intent.
This is a good group. There are eighteen people here, not counting the bishop. He came late in the evening to join us for dinner.
During the day, we got to know each other. Introductions included asking who we were, what community we were serving, how we came to be here in this diocese and what gives us joy. A simple ice-breaker that allowed me to ease into getting to know a new group of people. Also, after six months, I have to confess to knowing some folk from my deanery, the bishop and a couple of people on diocesan staff...And almost no one else in the diocese. This from an extrovert who knows the first name of the guy who pours my coffee by the end of the second cup.
By the way, our waitress' name last night was Melanie. She enjoy oysters and doesn't like hard alcohol and was amazed at how nice we were as a large group.
FreshStart is pretty cool...And the way this diocese kicks it off is something I have really enjoyed.
The pace is easy and the emphasis is on forging relationships. As a friend says, who is a trained facilitator for the diocese of Virginia, it is ALL about the relationship. So, we spent time talking in circle, eating lunch, praying at midday and then we were sent off to spend some time relaxing. I wound up taking a sail with the rector of the church in Drexel Hill and we had a fine afternoon tacking up and down the part of the Elk river that flows past the camp. A nice little 12 foot two hand sailboat that someone donated to the diocese. I handled the jib. I was nice for a time to be a deckhand and to be able to release concern about setting course, sail, etc....Both realistically and metaphorically.
Last night was finance at the church. Tonight is stewardship....
Wonder how that went. We are really hurting. Loss for the year is posting at nearly 90 K right now. Gives me indigestion.
I woke up early around 5:30 AM. Beautiful sunrise and I did some yoga in my room before sitting down to write. It is peaceful around here.