Into the Future
By Barry Cammer
First of all, traveling mercies for Tony and Darrell - and their cat. Tony and Darrell made the decision to leave, but I'm sad to see them go. Even though this is a good move for them, I have to imagine that they feel a little fear and anxiety for the unknown. My prayer for them is that these next few weeks and months feel more like an adventure with its attendant excitement; like going downhill on a roller coaster. We scream bloody murder and they scream for joy at the bottom, before we do it all again. It is inappropriate to contact Tony and Darrell from this point forward, but holding them in prayer is not only okay, but a good thing.
We, too, are on an adventure, with more than a little unknown in our future. Trust me when I tell you that wringing of hands won't do any good. What will do some (or a lot of) good is that we remember. Remember that we are a community of faith where we love, care for, and nurture each other. Remember that we are a community where everyone has a role. I remember teaching Vacation Bible School in Eastern Oregon in 1984 after my first year of seminary. I found myself joyfully singing, "All God's children have a voice in the choir, some sing low, some sing higher, some sing out loud on the telephone wire. And some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they've got now..." Remember that we are surrounded by Spirit, holding our journey, encouraging us and guiding us on our path of choosing our next settled pastor.
So take a few minutes right now, as you read this, and lift in prayer the following:
Tony, Darrell and their cat.
Nina and the entire church council
For the interim search committee and for the person they choose
For the pastoral search commit and for the person who will become our next pastor
For each other at Arlington Community Church
For our transition time
And finally, a word about who we are. As a pastoral counselor, I've worked with lots of people who have ended a relationship. So often, they want to immediately look for a new relationship as a means of healing what hurts. More often than not, they bring their broken heart, anger and disappointment to a new relationship and live out their hurt in unhealthy ways. I always suggest that an individual do some personal work after a relationship. Be clear about who you are, do the healing and grief work that's needed, and then bring THAT strong person into a new relationship.
I'd like to take this moment to suggest that this transition to new pastoral leadership is a perfect time for us to fully claim who we are as a community of faith. I'd like us to clarify our strengths, acknowledge our limitations, do our grieving and healing and bring THAT congregation into a new relationship with a new pastor. A pastor does not define who we are. A pastor reflects who we are. Who are we? Who are we becoming? And how can you help move our community forward into the future?
Rev. Barry Cammer
P.S. We're going to have a variety of preachers for the next 6-8 weeks. So maybe this is a good time to share that, while I liked and appreciated Tony's preaching, I never come to worship to hear Tony. I come to be with my community of faith - all of you. So I ask that each of you commit to worshiping with us MORE during this transition, not less. We are so much more alive and stronger when everyone shows up. Your presence is felt. Your absence is also felt. Worship with us.
September 30 - Barry Cammer
October 7 - Dorothy Streutker