Minister’s Column – November, 2018

Back in 2006 at a retreat, Board of Trustees did a visioning exercise asking: If the church were a person, how old would s/he be? What kind of person, what stage of life? They gave the church-as-person the gender neutral name Robin.

Twelve years ago, they thought Robin was a teenager on the cusp of becoming an adult, poised to do great things, but not yet launched.

S/he is:

  • A kid, just moved out of the house. (The church had just moved down the hill from the Terry House.)
  • On a journey, full of inquiry, authentic, caring, vulnerable.
  • Someone who had a good upbringing, yet was at a bit of an awkward stage. Still asking, “What’s my place in the world? What’s my work? Who’s in charge and what are the limits?”
  • Someone with lots of friends to bring home and many choices.
  • Going in 15 directions at once.
  • Dynamic, like unset Jello, (my personal favorite).

In 2013, Robin was resurrected at a Board and Congregation visioning session. Now Robin is a bit older, “about to be booted out of young adult camp.”

S/he is:

  • Healthy, self-aware, still well-adjusted, focused, realistic, competent.
  • Perhaps a little weary of growth, still dreaming but realizing some dreams are harder to achieve and are different than expected.
  • Yet also rewarded by risks taken and ready to risk more.
  • Has fewer authority issues, becoming a better team member.
  • Knows more what s/he knows and how much s/he doesn’t know.
  • Ready to lead from a place of greater experience.

We brought Robin back for Big Vision Saturday in October. The 30-plus people in Berg Hall realized Robin’s pronoun has become the singular “they” per our deeper understanding of the gender continuum. Most thought Robin is older, though still in transition. And Robin is busier than ever as a program-style church.

They are:

  • More mature and stable, even gray at the temples, yet still with youthful energy.
  • Experiencing some internal and external conflict.
  • Values-driven and re-evaluating priorities. On the brink of a renaissance? A mid-life crisis?
  • More nurturing, making more connections.
  • Still going in 15 directions at once (both positively and negatively), feel­ing compartmentalized/stratified.
  • Maybe bored or complacent, yet enough energy to make a shift.
  • Seeking a sense of sanctuary.
  • Becoming an extended family with children and grandchildren.

The world is a different place than it was 12 or even 5 years ago and we are a different church. There is both a sense we know who we are and we want to be more. We can be a strongly connected group caring for each other (even not knowing everyone). We can still bring our experienced-still-learning voice to the world.

I invite everyone to continue this visioning journey with the Five- Four-Five team and me over the next year.

Blessings and love, Rev. Dana