(Written as the editor’s letter for the May 2020 GOL E-News. Read the whole newsletter here.)
Whoever said that change is the only constant must have had a crystal ball showing them the year 2020. During a recent GOL Board Meeting we reviewed minutes from a prior meeting and we couldn’t help but joke that it felt like a lifetime ago, although it had only been three months.
As more and more of our “regular” life is shut down we must find new ways of pastoring, new ways of parenting, new ways of connecting… new ways of just plain being. Many of GOL’s Participating clergy have been attending our Seeking Resilience sessions as a way to unpack the emotions and struggles surrounding us in this time. I am gifted with the opportunity to hear all of these uplifting yet difficult conversations, and the snippets of hope I hear give me faith that our leaders will figure this out together:
“I had to realize that I was in this WITH my congregation, not FOR my congregation.”
“It’s important that I be a thermostat and not a thermometer.”
“What is it that you hear the Good Shepherd calling you to do in this time? In spite of all the other voices, and in spite of your anxiety and fear, what is God saying?”
Knowing that we’ve already cancelled one in-person Gathering this year, and now sharing that we have decided to cancel the August Gathering in Cincinnati, it is with a look toward this question that GOL is planning a series of virtual mini-Gatherings to bring together our creative, innovating, adaptive leaders in the GOL network to share methods that are working, workshop ideas we want to implement, and wrestle with the question of how we live into a new way of being the church in the world. Stay tuned for more information soon!
I am also able to share that our current partnership with the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) (see original press release here) is going strong! From early on in my time with GOL I have had a desire to help get some of the amazing ideas, ministries, and strategies out to a wider audience. This partnership has allowed for just that as GOL participants are writing articles and resources for ECF’s publications, offering webinars on challenging subjects, and building curriculum for other clergy and congregations to learn and implement. I encourage you to learn more about ECF on their website, check out their resources on Vital Practices, and take their annual survey here.
Lastly, with a look toward the future, 2021 in-person Gatherings are now open for registration. We are continuing to monitor the state of the pandemic and will be making adjustments to our methods based on social distancing needs and health concerns. We encourage you to look at your calendar with hope and register for a Gathering that will work for you. Many of you have credits on your account due to the cancelled 2020 Gatherings and we will transfer those to your next registration.
My prayers for all continue to be for health, safety, and community, and I hope that you find time to rejuvinate yourself while you are caring for so many others. God bless!
Haley Bankey, Executive Director