Back after a rewarding two weeks

Good day siblings in Christ,

I’m back and it has been a rewarding two weeks. I am feeling refreshed and renewed with a bunch of new ideas. While I wish to say it felt like a vacation, it was a LOT of work. Much of the work was practical though with a focus on how to use the ideas in the congregation.

The Princeton week was focused on preaching and eco-theology. Morning lectures were by a very famous eco-theologian named Dr. Hyran Kim-Cragg who focused on using preaching to discuss how care for the Earth is not only a mandate from God, but also a care for the poor in the world. It was very similar to a lot of Native/First Nation Theology. I also took a class on strategic preaching which was so rewarding and will be a practice I use from now on. The other class I took was on images of faith in congregations and how they project a sense of who is welcome in the church and how some images historically have been used to oppress others. The third class was on Death, Resurrection, and Eschatology (a fancy term for end of the world) and this used the image of farming as a way of talking about these three terms.

The Yale week was more heady, as I heard a sermon from Rev. Dr. William Barber II on broken bodies being used by God, God’s call to the imperfect, and a reminder to focus on the poor in the world. Dr. Mirsolv Volf discussed how we have lost a focus on talking about morals and morality especially around the poor, the immigrants, and refugees and how those have been replaced with nationalistic thinking in some congregations. It was a large discussion on how Christian Nationalism has taken hold. I heard a wonderful lecture on using Isaiah to talk about rest, renewal, and hope. Then we discussed adaptive leadership for about four hours and what adaptive challenges are present in our congregations. I now have to meet with a cohort for a year to talk about a project around an adaptive challenge.

I also performed a wedding renewal during my time away for Christopher and Yeli Moy. Larry and Karen were proud parents and it was a beautiful service. It was originally all going to be outside, but thunderstorms changed those plans. It was still lovely!

What is coming up at Our Saviour?

Saturday, June 29 at 9:30 will be a discussion on “How to Plan Your Church Funeral”. It is not always something we want to talk about, but if there is no plan when it happens, it can get very messy. I have stories of mess, but more importantly, how to lay out your wishes as a gift to your loved ones. I will plan for an hour, but it might stretch a little bit.

There is a funeral at 2:00 that Saturday with a luncheon to follow, so the building will be occupied on that day.

At the end of July through all of August, the lectionary readings will all be on bread. It is a preacher’s dilemma because the topic is important, but 5 weeks on bread is a lot of preaching on bread. We will have a special bread liturgy and since your pastor is way into bread and baking it, each week we will focus on a different type of bread and it will be our communion loaf for the day.

I think that is it. See you tomorrow!

Pastor Johnson