This time of year it’s difficult to know the season! Christmas decorations compete with Halloween candy and Thanksgiving cornucopias. Fifty degree days are followed by eighty degree days. We switch from heat to AC to heat again, open and close windows. But this November and December, the Gethsemane Church Council invites you into a Season of Listening, a time of holy conversation, sharing our stories and building relationships.
Over recent years, we have listened to the Spirit in and among us. We have renovated our space to make it more welcoming, become a Reconciling in Christ congregation, updated our HVAC system, deepened partnerships with Joint Neighborhood Ministry, Metropolitan Congregations United, and God’s Helping Hands among others. Where and what might God be calling us to next?
Your Church Council was recently trained by MCU to conduct a Listening Campaign, to enter into one-on-one conversations with you! We don’t want to ask you to be on a committee. We are not going to ask you to give money. We want to know about you; you are THAT important. Listening to one another creates a stronger church; a church that truly understands and can respond to the needs of its members and community. We want to learn, understand, and explore ways to respond to what you really care about as a person of faith.
Our goal is 60 conversations. We have developed a randomly selected list of folks who will be contacted by Council members to spend 30-45 minutes in conversation. Please say YES if you are contacted. Again, you will not be asked to do anything or give money! If you would like to be contacted for a conversation, please let Council President Leslie Wobbe know or indicate on your blue worship information form. After this time of listening, the Council will meet and look for common themes, joys, concerns, and Spirit-filled directions to report back to the Congregation at the annual meeting in January.
The Rule of St. Benedict, an ancient guide for living in community, begins with the word “Listen!” St. Benedict says to listen with the ear of the heart, not just with the mind in an intellectual exercise, but with the heart, which is the root of love. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his classic work Life Together says, “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the [brothers and sisters] is learning to listen to them.” We strive to listen deeply, with honest and open questions rather than focused on our own response, thinking about what we’re going to say!
I look forward to a season of listening!