It’s mid June — the season of graduation and celebrations, a time of anticipating perhaps some time away or a summer vacation. I leave on Friday for a few weeks of vacation to rest and prepare for some added responsibilities during Catherine’s sabbatical from the end of July to the end of October, and also to attend the week-long General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Baltimore. Every two years representatives from regions throughout the country come together to make decisions in that national church setting of our denomination – affirm leadership, hear reports, and vote on a number of resolutions. I am attending as a representative this year due to my role as Moderator of the Pacific Northwest Conference.
I have also been working with my colleagues in planning our worship series for the coming year. As part of our marking of the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (remember that bit about Martin Luther’s 95 theses nailed to the church door?), we’ll be exploring the theme of Spiritual Migration and hosting a lecture series on November 3-5 with the Jesus Seminar on the Road focused on the Reformation. Because challenges and barriers for refugees and immigrants have been at the forefront of the news the past months, we’ve invited David Vasquez-Levy, President of the Pacific School of Religion, to lecture and preach about migration on November 11 and 12.
Using the stories of the Exodus, we’ll explore what we need to leave so that we can be prepared to leave home, and go where we are being called or compelled to go. We begin the Fall with Homecoming Sunday on September 17, and the discomforting reality that for many this is a time of not feeling at home in our country, with realities and challenges in our own lives, families and communities. During Advent and Epiphany we’ll use the stories of Jesus life and ministry to explore leaving home. In Lent we’ll explore the reality of being in the wilderness or a time of transformation after leaving home. In Eastertide, coming home again but to a home different than the one we left. I am looking forward to exploring this journey of transition, change and challenge together. You will see an invitation to make a “family bird” to tell your own and/or your family’s history of migration. If you would like to get involved or learn more in this year’s series, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wherever you summer journey takes you – far from home or deeper into your own life here, may you know your church carries you in our hearts, hopefulness and prayers. We look forward to connecting with you along the way.