Sacred Community (#ext15)

Take two!!

This was only my second time attending the E, but there is something so incredibly holy about this time. I didn’t even know what I was missing, but now I can’t get enough of it.

My friend ST had been trying to get me to come to the E for FOREVER! And my German Russian stubbornness got in the way until last year. And now the E is a priority for me.

The E totally is a well that refills my empty cup. It gives me new life as I spend holy sacred time with amazing people. The E simply restores my soul.

This year a friend and I decided to gather together a gathering of Word and Service folk to talk about the proposed changes to our roster in 2016. I honestly thought we would just get a few and we had almost twenty. It was such holy time for me.

One morning a FB friend and I even met in real life. I was humbled and awed that she called me her mentor. Craziness!! Again sacred holy time!

I spent tons of time with friends from all different times and places in my life. As we talked about story, I was reminded of how these people were and continue to be a part of my story as our paths crossed. Yet again sacred holy time.

It’s hard to put into words what this community means to me. It is a community that forever will connect different times and places in my life. It is a community that will always welcome me and YOU (my dear youth worker friends, volunteers, etc) with open arms.

It is a community that I know will wipe my tears in my moments of deep sadness and will rejoice with me in those moments of overwhelming joy!

It is a community that sees my gifts; sees your gifts and continually encourages me; you to use those gifts. Sometimes this community names these gifts before we even see them in ourselves.

This community, my friends, is an amazing holy gift to each other and to our wider church. Thank you for inviting me, welcoming me and showing me the power of community. May many others find this community and join us in our story together.

Come to the E

On Monday night, I returned from attending my first ELCA YMNET Extravaganza. My friend Sarah has been trying to get me to attend an E for quite awhile now. I don’t know why but I often would drag my feet and come up with some excuse for why I couldn’t or wouldn’t be attending the E (as it is affectionately known in the Network.) But this year I gave in…and I am so glad that I did.

The ELCA YMNET exists to strengthen and empower adult youth ministry leaders in service to Christ as part of God’s mission. And what a gift the network is…a place to gather with others who understand the call to children, youth, and family ministry and know its joys and struggles. I was blessed to gather with friends and colleagues from many different places in my life. I was blessed to meet new friends who loved and accepted me for who God created me to be! I was blessed to spend some time exploring the city and recharging my batteries.

The E hosts many wonderful workshops throughout the event to help us grow and learn new practices for working with children, youth and families. For me, there were so many wonderful workshops that I wanted to attend but I couldn’t get to them all. There also was large group gatherings where we worshipped together. The comedian was awesome.

I also love that on the last day…there was a time for healing prayers and blessings. It was an incredibly humbling experience for me to bless friends and colleagues. I am glad that I offered up myself to pray because God sure works in amazing ways. I was on the complete opposite side of the room from where we were sitting but yet somehow I ended up blessing dear friends in my life.

There is so much more I could say about how wonderful the E is! I hope that you are able to join us in 2015 in Detroit. I wont be dragging my feet anymore…and will definitely be in Detroit. And thank you Sarah for encouraging me to attend the E. I just should have listened much sooner than I did!