Friday, August 22, 2008

michigan area school of pastoral ministry

I was invited by a wonderful group of people to speak at the Michigan Area School of Pastoral Ministry, and so I spent Tuesday-Thursday in Lansing. I preached two sermons, one on "Change", the second on "Repairing The World", and I gave a plenary address entitled "To Walk and Not Faint: The Path of Lifelong Ministry". I am told that the Senate of that school will have mp3 files available if you want to hear the talks, and communication about the school will be flowing from both the Detroit and West Michigan Annual Conferences. I was truly overwhelmed by the hospitality of the clergy there, and impressed by their care for each other. This is a strong school with a rich tradition (Tony Campolo spoke last year), and I was honored to have been asked to take part. I must also say that it was refreshing to cross a regional boundary of our denomination; I have been blessed in the past few years with friendships from folks who serve in other geographical areas of the church. For those of you who participate in the politics of our denomination, you will know how great the divide often is between us, and how necessary it is that we learn from each other. More than once I was asked "how often do you do this?", since I serve a local church. I actually enjoy speaking in other places, but I do carefully weigh whether an event is at the right time, and with the right group, and for the right purpose. A gathering at the end of the summer with pastors was a perfect fit. It was good to be there, and it is good to be home.

I am now at work on the sermon for Sunday, which is related to intentional faith development. We are trying to re-shape our "Promotion Sunday" toward the idea of spiritual practices, working closely with Bishop Schnase's work (see the link to "Five Practices" to the right). I am reflecting on Eugene Peterson's translation of Romans 12. 1-2, and the youth are going to do a dramatic presentation of it. It should be a great morning.

Have a good weekend.

The grace and peace of the Lord,



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