Slowing down to stay ahead

Posted · 1 Comment

Dear Colleagues in Ministry:

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent…” (BCP page 265)

Lenten fasts, observances and disciplines have begun and I pray that the beginning of your Lenten season has been a blessing. For me, times of quiet prayer each morning and a regular discipline of reading and praying throughout the day have had the effect of slowing me down. Not always, mind you, as the pace of life and ministry is always a challenge for us to manage in this 21st century. But often and regularly I do stop, pause, and take a breath. The wonderful weather has helped in addition to all of the above. I pray you have had a similar experience and that you are able to maintain that discipline throughout the season. God is present, God is active, God is in love with the created order, and God is calling us all to experience the reign of God in life today.

On Sunday I celebrated with St. Mary’s in Woodburn, a small congregation with a long history! While they are in that challenging place of transition, at present they have a lively sense of God’s presence and guidance. And, they are sustained by the good ministry of their senior warden and the rest of the faithful laity who worship there on a regular basis. Woodburn is not simply the town you pass by on I-5 and think about shopping at the outlet mall, it is also a place where Episcopalians reside.

Thursday I travel early to be in Ashland by noon! Guess what? Apparently it is a five hour trip- EITHER WAY! I look forward to some quality time in the car with all of my musical buddies like Greg Brown, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Hendrix and the like. It should be a good trip and I go for a great reason. I will be participating in the three-day conference, Equipping the Saints. This conference/workshop is for the benefit of congregations seeking to discover tools for congregational development. Do not worry that you are missing out; we will hold the same conference three additional times during 2015. Look for information about a conference near you!

Finally, this Sunday I will be in Silverton! What a busy weekend. I guess I’ll need to really concentrate on slowing down to experience all of the Lenten season.

Blessings,
+Michael

lewis_branding-blaze_boxThis photo is a selfie of me taken during a talk by Kerry Tymchuk the executive director of the Oregon Historical Society. What I am holding is a branding iron taken by Merriweather Lewis on his travels to the west. Apparently Lewis traded it to some locals as he was leaving to return east to lighten his load. It was later discarded and then found some time in 1890s near The Dalles. Oregon history in my hands!