During the months of the “shelter in place” that began March 15, 2020, I was living in a converted barn on a farm in rural SW Washington 2 miles from the church I served which was at least 25 minutes from a grocery store. For the first few months, as a very small team of us struggled to set up online worship, I personally found it difficult to find joy or even to wonder why someone might think that a sweatshirt on top of pajamas was not a viable fashion option. One day I had an epiphany. I was going to open a “restaurant’ in my barn. I would strive to make delicious 5- star meals on my best dishes and platters and become the chef and host to my only guest, me. The idea went from silly to fabulous pretty quickly. I thoughtfully chose, ordered and picked up groceries weekly, scoured my favorite cookbooks and made menus. I pulled out all my eclectic hand made platters and bowls as well as my odd pieces of fancy tableware. I made mosaic table pieces to put on top of table cloths. Then I began photographing my meals and sharing the photos on social media. At least three time I week, especially on the days I woke up a little down, I’d give myself a pep talk and create a meal that became known as “Table for One.” This act of kindness towards myself ALWAYS improved my mood. My tiny galley kitchen overflowed with dishes, sauces and scraps of dough yet when the food hit the table it began to look like a delectable art piece. Soon, the pictures I was sharing began to attract attention. My friends complimented the photos, asked for recipes, and eventually began commenting that my posts were helping them to feel better about themselves during a very difficult time. Now, even though I am able to have people over for meals and can eat out with friends, I still do a “Table for One” at least once a week to remind myself that self-care and kindness have the power not only to lift my Spirit but also to encourage others.
- Pastor Jill Ross
The Call Committee continues to meet and thoughtfully put together responses to the Ministry Site Profile. Our focus these last few meetings has been to discuss top gifts of ministry that we would like to see in our next pastor. As was mentioned last week, we cannot have everything but we are working hard to prioritize ministry gifts and the needs of our congregation. While some are easy to identify, there are other areas that need further discussion. As we work through this process, areas that will need further congregation input are being identified. We hope to get a survey out to the congregation members soon.
Committee members do need your input throughout this process. Please feel free to contact one of the committee members if you have thoughts or input you would like to have considered. We have appreciated all the comments that have been made. The committee members are: Matt Byom, Sarah Janigian, Randy Presuhn (Chairperson), Adolfo Ramirez, Paul Thomas, Julia Tranchina.
The Ministry Site Profile is an important document in our Call process. The information we provide is used by the Synod office find candidates for our congregation, and for prospective candidates to get a good picture of who we are and whether they would be a good match for us. It is not easy. It does take time. The Call Committee is committed to finding a good fit for our congregation.
Please keep the Call Committee in your prayers.
These times are frustrating, right? We are in the third year of a pandemic that changes on us as we continue to defend ourselves with vaccinations and masks and distancing, etc. We have a country riven by such deep division that sometimes it seems hopeless that we could ever reconcile. Inflation is still high (just go to any gas station). The church is considered antiquated at best or immoral at worst by many. And on and on.
When contemporary life becomes too hard to handle, when I become frustrated or angry or just plain sad I realize that I need to stop and think – to meditate – to remember – that I am aligned with a God who is none of the above. She is a God of calm and peace. He is the embodiment of healing and compassion. They are a God of abundance. And no matter what anyone thinks of her, he remains the same. They are immovable.
I don’t mean any of this in the Old Testament sense. God has given us a new testament and shown his face in a new way. God IS calm and peace and healing and compassion and abundance and immovable in their love. This is not pie-in-the-sky thinking. It is and always will be the ultimate reality. I see this at church with the community we have, I sense this in communion and I experience in the world from many good people – Christian or not. I need to acknowledge these truths more in my life during the times we live in. Wait, I think I need another meditation time. See you on Sunday to celebrate the one who loves ALL of us beyond measure or understanding.
The CGS Call Committee met this week to discuss our internal responses to the Top Gifts for Ministry from the Ministry Site Profile form. This section of the form focuses on choosing five Top Priority and five Very Important gifts we would like to see in a pastor. Since we can't have everything, it has been great to have your feedback on the qualities that you consider to be the most important for our congregation's next pastor.
This site profile helps the synod match call candidates with our congregation and gives the candidates a picture of what the CGS community is like. When we have it completed and submitted, the synod will get to work supplying a slate of candidates for consideration. We hope to get a survey out to the congregation soon to help with feedback on the most important and difficult parts of the site profile.
In the meantime, please do reach out to Sarah, Adolfo, Julia, Matt, Paul, Randy (chair) with any comments, questions, or qualities you would like to see in a future pastor.
Staycation last day - a week of processing all the changes of the last months and a wondering what my canticle of turning will be? A new song? I love the tradition of the rosca (cake) with the hidden toy baby on Epiphany. The one who finds the baby holds it until Candlemas in February then makes tamales for the village. Celebration does not seem to disrespect grief. This week listening to the stories of leaders held inside the Capitol a year ago, watching fires then deep snow in Colorado, and feeling the rush of people flying to see loved ones they need to see yet still falling ill in the midst of a pandemic and watching the world stop and go and stop again, I hold on. I will hold these deep new combinations of raw emotion tenderly like the hidden baby and practice hospitality by digging deeper for the music that is the new song, because the world has turned.
Call Committee Update.
The Call Committee (Randy Presuhn, Chair, Paul Thomas, Sarah Janigian, Matt Byom, Adolfo Ramirez, and Julia Tranchina) has resumed its work after a brief holiday hiatus, returning to the questions from the Ministry Site profile designed to help us summarize the current life of our congregation to prospective candidates; and the Committee is also working on possible questions we will use in the upcoming congregational survey.
In the meantime, we continued to be pleased by how many of you have come forward to members of the Call Committee with your thoughts about what you hope to see in our next pastor. We have received your input in writing and in person, and we have found your thoughts to be helpful and insightful.
Nevertheless, the important thing is that the Call Committee continues to want your ideas, and we hope you will let us know what you think is important. You can not only tell us what you want and feel is important to have in our next pastor, but you may also tell us what you don’t want or don’t like.
Please continue to keep the Call Committee and its work in your prayers.
Happy New Year CGS!
New Years is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I usually spend part of the day meditating on all the events that happened in the year. The personal ones whether good or bad that shaped and led to be able to celebrate another passing of calendar year. Then I shift my focus to the possibility that the next year could bring my way. Hope. That’s why it’s a day I look forward to. The hope that there is a clean slate in front on me that could lead to anything that I’ve ever dreamed. This year I hope for more memories that I can create with my friends and family. And I wish and hope the same for all of you. Blessings.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.