Too Much...

Rev. Joshua Patty
Regional Minister and President

As I read, I frequently note resources that might help other church leaders. Since the last Ministry Together, these resources are pretty heavy. A reflection on grieving while leading. Another that raises the question, "What if we are all burned out?" Or a piece titled "When wringing every moment out of the day still isn't enough," which hit pretty close to home for me.

One paragraph by Thomas Rodgerson stopped me in my tracks. "We live in a traumatized culture. The pandemic has left few people untouched and has further opened our eyes to the preexisting trauma systemically embedded in race and class distinctions. Unless the church can find a way to stand with those who are traumatized, many will continue to view the church as complicit in the trauma." (Emphasis mine)

This insight was part of a reflection on reaching out to the Nones. However, understanding that most people around us -- and ourselves too -- are traumatized suggests certain ways to focus our ministries: providing space, permission, and examples for grief; listening and honoring the pain experienced by others; exploring meaning in this period of heightened anxiety and uncertainty; and seeking the persistent hope of faith. Perhaps the perennial lessons of Lent and Easter will find new ears and relevance -- for the Nones, for the faithful, for us.

Certainly some will seek avoidance and distraction, but there are many hungering to better understand what has happened/is happening and what we should do next. Each month in this newsletter, we highlight many education opportunities. Just before we published this newsletter, I learned of a series of free webinars for leaders that Lexington Theological Seminary is hosting in March.

I am also pleased to share that our region will host monthly online education events beginning in April. On the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30, we will gather Learning Together. The first hourlong conversation will focus on darkness and hope, inspired by short video reflections by Rowan Williams and Nadia Bolz-Weber. Our goal is not to displace any congregational activities, but to bolster them. We will share registration details, but please imagine ways that you and people in your congregation might participate.