Hey hey!

Last night was a pastor’s dream.

I went to church to be present for the conclusion of a week long Vacation Bible School program.

There were kids everywhere: Smiling kids and proud kids and happy kids and their glowing parents and all of this accompanied by hot dogs and song.

“Hey hey! We’re living in God’s back yard” (the VBS theme) was proclamation and reality.

Part of the evening treat was seeing a slide show of pictures taken throughout the week. Each child was shown living the joy of back yard fun. The adults who led the program were captured in discipleship action.

Such beauty is almost too much to behold.

I’m peeled back from child sickness and life. As I watched the slide show and experienced the kids sharing the song they had learned (complete with motions like the twist) gratitude leaked out of my eyes and would not be stoppered.

Hey hey! We’re living in God’s back yard.

Hey hey! We’re not alone as we raise children and share the wonder and snargle of life.

Hey hey! There are life songs yet to teach.

Hey hey!


I am freshly back from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota.

I was part of a group of nine women from the church who planned and packed and set out on a woman-powered adventure.

I’ve never gone in this early in the summer.  It was different, as in cold.  We were a layered crew, humbled by the basics of keeping warm and dry.  It rained.  We had one day without rain but the others kept us aware of the need to stay dry.

We were ambitious, planning a route that included a 169 rod portage,a 90 rod portage and two smaller portages as well as river and lake paddling.  We figured that if we didn’t have the energy to push to our goal, we could rest for a night on one of the two lakes between.  We forgot, though, that a major burn had gone through the fall before and the two lakes that might have given us rest were eerie charcoal.

So push on we did.  Going there was hard.  We figured that coming back might be a bit easier.  We were wrong.  On the day we broke camp the rain poured down.  Before we made it off the first lake we were soaked and shivering.  I was grateful for the portages, because they allowed our bodies to pump some warmth through our systems.

And then there was the wind.  We paddled back into white caps and cross winds that prompted deep digging for what felt like hours of paddling.

At the end of the last long portage, feeling relieved with only two short ones to polish off, I landed in a full body (complete with pack on my back) sprawl in the water.  It was thankfully a move witnessed by only one of my paddling sisters.  She was good enough to help me get the darn pack off my back while I was pinned on my hands and knees by exhaustion and a great good laugh.

We made it out.

And I am now home where water runs from taps and heat is more than available but home is a funny thing.

While sitting on a rock watching may flies hatch in the dusk, I was home.

In the cocoon of a tent sharing heart and laughs, I was home.

In the whip of wind and power of white caps, I was home.

The moveable temple of at-oneness calls me home.




Last night a group of us shared some fine time.

Those gathered are people who summoned the courage to enter the doors of our church for the first time.  They came in the door, decided that they might find meaning in our midst, and have decided to join their lot with ours.

Every time I meet with prospective new members I am moved by wonder.  Truly, taking membership vows represents a longing for community and communion that is no small thing.

We talked about what it was that prompted them to walk through the doors for the first time, and we asked about what it is they are seeking.  We barraged them with the requisite information but really, what we sought to do was listen for the story of the Holy that walks in their being as we invite them to  enter a community seeking to live and name transformational possibilities.

They are a wise and diverse lot.  They named their awareness that the church is so very much more than the pastor.  They have sniffed around our being and decided that at RUMC, they may find a safe place to grow in their relationship with the Holy and those the Holy has created – even themselves.

This thing called “church” is no easy thing.  We challenge ourselves to learn about what Jesus taught and put that teaching into the living of our days.  It is messy and demanding work.  When we take membership vows we agree that we will live together in community and we know that sometimes it feels like we live in one of those rock tumblers:  we get swirled around in the grit of others and sometimes we allow that bumping to polish us into something unknown even to our own imaginings.

To those who follow soul rumblings into community, I say “welcome”.  We need your grit in order to shine in ways that make for grace in the world.

Welcome indeed.


shout out!

I wove my way out of church tonight.

There was a fourth step training going on.  There was a band practice and an Adult Council meeting and piano lessons and connecting and church was doing what it is meant to do: hold people as they unfold.

Our church is alive for so many reasons.  One of them is because we have an amazing staff.

We’re in the blessed season of asbestos abatement and new boiler(s) installation and new pipes and summer program launching and community carnival hosting and each of these things is midwifed by the best staff a church could hope to call their own.

Our staff encounter all manner of things in their work.  They handle walk-ins and myriad requests.  They strategize and equip and pray and laugh and field grumblings and all of this they do knowing that at any given moment the things they had planned to do could get sidelined by what might come through the door or over the phone.

To a person they are committed and generous gifts.

It’s good to work with people you like.  It’s even better to team up with deep souled folk who lend heart and grit to Richfield United Methodist Church in order for grace to shine.

Oh, we are blessed.


just a singer

A friend posted a great picture on my Facebook page.

It is a picture of a band; Northwind by name.  Taken when I was in my twenties, the picture shows the faces of those I made music with for years.  I was a singer in a rock and roll band.

We had so much fun.  We were a cover band, launching ourselves into sharing whatever it was that would make people dance.  And they did.

I look at the face of that twenty-something year old woman and I laugh.  The picture was taken before I knew the stretch of being a mother.  It was taken before ministry and divorce and re-familying and the bumps and grinds that have made for life.

All that I am now walked in that long ago woman; the good, the challenging, and the questions I am (still!) impatient to have answered.

Who are we, anyway?

As for me, I am grateful for the memories of reveling and music making and night upon night of the dance floor coming alive to “Wild Thing”.

It’s not unlike church.  A crowd gathers every Sunday wanting to be moved to dance, to enter in, to throw ourselves into the jumble that is life.  We want to laugh and cry and mix it up with friends.  We do it without the slop of beer to loosen us.  But the sense of wanting to be taken into an experience larger than ourselves is real.  Spirit sets the table.  We join the dance.

What I’m realizing is that  I am still a singer in a rock and roll band.

And I like it.

so good

One of the under sung gifts of shared ministry is laughter.

In ministry, we work with people.  People (and God knows that includes those called ordained ministers) are a wonderful collection of stories and quirks.

Sometimes, when life is good and healthy and precious, we get to laugh.  We laugh at ourselves, at the foibles of others, and at the ridiculously sublime thing it is to seek to live in the way of Jesus.  I sometimes want to call us “Stumblers Anonymous”, except that we aren’t all that anonymous about our stumbling.

Today I met with two of the gifts of our church.  We were talking about this and that and in the midst of it the tickle of funny took us over and we howled with laughter.

Oh, what gift!  Now, each time we see each other, we will remember the words and hearts shared during our time together.

And we will know this too:  we laughed.  We laughed at ourselves and at the goofy good world we share and this laughter will live in the web of our relationship always.

Sometimes we get so darn serious and intent on this thing called Christian Discipleship that we forget that Jesus didn’t bring people to him and his movement through deadly serious harangue. He invited people to join a movement made up of bumbly people blessed by God who believe that together they can be healers.

I figure they laughed a lot together.

That works for me.