New Words, New Visions
By Susan Garsoe
A year ago this past September, our bishop asked four parishes in Colorado to join Genesis II: Revision and Renew. We joined with Tom Brackett and Steve Matthews on a journey, setting off with a bit of a compass, some charts, a boat.
I had a vague understanding that we were going to sail together into the unknown, looking a bit like those sea charts of old with sea monsters. Not really, but still. We were emerging from the pandemic and rethinking church, and there was nothing to guide us except loving one another. As Steve put it, “We are not looking to do what we used to do, only better”–instead, we are looking for new words, new visions, new ways of moving into the community, to partner with our neighbors.
A few weeks ago, one of our team spoke of starting a new ministry at church for fathers of young children. Steve said, in his loving and generous way, “Why don’t you think about finding an already existing group in your community, and joining them?” Because not all things start with us at the church. We are encouraging ourselves to walk into the larger world and walk alongside the groups who need us as allies. Not asking, “What can we do for you?” but asking, “How can we be neighbors together, and what would you like to teach us?”
In our local community, a group of people started The Mindfulness and Positivity Project. Initially, it was a course at the high school, to help students with the stressors of their lives. Now it’s a nonprofit, offering its services to a whole range of people. Two weeks ago, our church hosted the project, which gathered the support staff of a local school district for a retreat. Bus drivers, kitchen workers, classroom aides all came to our parish house. We were there to welcome them and tell them that “our house is your house.” One woman came up to our rector after and said, “Please pray for our children. They are struggling.”
New words, new visions, new ways of being love.