As the snow began to lightly fall at the Bosque Center, this Houstonian felt like a kid at Christmas. It had been a long time since I had seen snowfall. I headed outside for a walk and was soon joined by a colleague that I had just met but who already seemed like an old friend. As we walked, we spoke about the presentations we had already heard, the messages we had received about money from the churches we had belonged to and served, personal struggles and victories with church and personal finances, and shared practical tools that had been useful in our contexts.
For me, that walk paints a picture of what I value most about GOL: excellent peer led presentations that invite us to consider different perspectives, relationships that nurture and sustain us as we encounter and lead in a changing world and church, and sharing practical ways to approach our work so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel. When we gather from around the country, some of the protections we may build to handle competition and posturing in our own dioceses seem to melt away after a few hours. What emerges is a valuable space to risk trust.
That trust is what we need to tackle the subject that is alternately described as the root of all evil and a topic to avoid along with religion and politics – money. But we vilify money and avoid taking a look at our relationship with it and our handling of it at our own and the church’s expense. This is a great topic to have chosen for the theme for this year. I was glad to explore the generosity of all economic classes, the serious economic challenges facing churches, how mission and money need each other and how to testify to our own practices for the extension of the reign of God.
The Rev. Hannah Atkins Romero
Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church