Lots of the extraneous stuff about my first Gathering of Leaders in Albuquerque was excellent: the food, the beautiful snowfall over the Rio Grande, the retreat house. But the real blessing was the opportunity to meet with and learn from other clergy from around the church — and not just about money and mission in the church. Sure, the theme provided a framework to shape our time together and there were gems to be mined from the presentations and follow-up discussions. However, at least for me, the breadth of backgrounds of the clergy there and the extended time to be surrounded, challenged, and encouraged by them gave me more to take home than any specific notes about the theme that made their way into my bag.
Considering that Gathering of Leaders is by definition a group of clergy getting together in one place, the tenor of interactions struck me by a general lack of presumption and the assumption of competence. It’s no secret that we who lead The Episcopal Church into the next stage of its life have challenges ahead, but what a blessing to get to do so alongside people who genuinely like what they do, love the people they serve, and are seeking the leadership of the Spirit of God.
The Rev. Andrew Van Kirk
Rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church