MSA Happenings – June 2011

The Mustard Seed Team is gearing up for a terrific summer season here in the Pacific Northwest and we hope that you can join us. For those collaborators who are too far away to come in person there are still many ways to participate as we work together to provide resources that empower all of us to more effectively follow Jesus into tomorrow’s world.

Recession II ready or not!

Saturday July 23, 9:30 to 12:00 the Mustard Seed Team will host a session entitled Recession II Ready or Not.

Join us at Saint Marks Cathedral, Seattle, in creating new ways to reach out to those who will be hammered by the coming wave of state cut backs, the ongoing federal cutbacks and increasing economic volatility. It is only a question of time before we see more people losing jobs, benefits and falling through the social safety net. But there is still time to get ready to reach out to those that will be hit the hardest before this next wave breaks on the lives of people in our communities.

This ecumenical event is co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, The Washington Association of Churches, The Lutheran Public Policy Office, The Parish Collective and Mustard Seed Associates

For more information and registration click here

20th Annual Celtic Retreat is Coming

This year we celebrate our 20th Celtic retreat Jubilee & New Beginnings: Celebrating the launch of Mustard Seed Village. We hope that you can join us August 12th – 14th on Mustard Seed Village MapCamano Island WA. Share in the Celtic Christian tradition as we incorporate the rhythms of work & rest, community & solitude, prayer & biblical studyall in the wild beauty of Camano Island.

This is such an exciting time for us as we plan for the semester away program September 2012 which will enable students to explore sustainable ways of living and serving God in our volatile future. We would love it if you could be a part of this. Can you also help us spread the word by letting your friends know. More Information available here or download the poster or bulletin insert.

Help Us Create Effective Responses in Turbulent Times

Turbulent TimesWe are in the process of updating the MSA resource Turbulent Times to help all of us respond more effectively to the new wave of cutbacks. We have already seen many creative responses to the first wave of recession such as Saint Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Bellevue,Washington which offered pro bono services in financial counseling, legal assistance and spiritual direction to members of their community. and a Foursquare Church in Everett which offered Job Counseling to the unemployed and helped numbers of their neighbors find work.

Churches and faith communities are responding and we want to know about it. Please use the forum on the MSA website to share resources and ideas. With your help we can rework the MSA resource Turbulent Times and enable all of us to be God’s creative and compassionate response in these challenging times.

Waiting for the Light – An New Advent Resource Coming

This new MSA resource will provide daily meditations, prayers and scripture readings throughout the season of Advent and Christmas. It will be available at the end of October.

Advent is a season to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ, not just as personal saviour but as the One who will redeem all creation with love and righteousness. This is also a season to anticipate the coming of a God who brings justice for the poor, freedom for the oppressed and judgement for the oppressors. We hope that as we wait for the light of the Christ child whose birth two thousand years ago radically refocused our world that we too will be renewed and refocused for the work God gives us to do.

Daily mediations will draw from posts that have been contributed to the Advent series on Godspace over the last two years: Jesus is Near How Do We Draw Close and What Are We Waiting For This Advent. However if you have a meditation or prayer you would like to have considered please let us know.

Please pray for us as we work on this new resource which we believe will both inspire and strengthen our faith as we seek to follow Christ in these turbulent times

Worshipping God in the Real World

I am currently hosting a series at Godspace entitled Worshipping God in the Real World – Spiritual Practices in Everyday Life. There have already been several thought provoking contributions. One of my growing passions is helping people find a 24/7 faith that is expressed in and through their everyday activities. I strongly believe that everything we do is meant to be an act of worship in which we either experience or represent God. I am also concerned that one of the reasons people are disconnecting from church and faith is because we have so divorced faith practices from the everyday world in which most of us live.

Kingdom signs are all around us. We encounter God in conversations with friends and colleagues, and in generosity and compassion towards strangers. We interact with God when we pet animals and dig in the garden, when we dig wells in Africa and respond to tornado victims in Joplin. These can all become sacramental acts of faith if we open our eyes and ears to see and listen.

There is still time to participate in this series. If you would like to contribute a guest post please email me at seasickdoctor@gmail.com for instructions. I hope that this series will be both diverse and faith building for all of us as we learn more about what it means to worship the God who created us and who is present in all we are and do.

Planning Ahead

The MSA team will hold strategic planning sessions July 25th and 26th to enable us to better discern God’s purposes for us in the coming years. As I have shared before, this is challenging for us. Not only because we are a very organic organization, but also because we are futures focused. We constantly monitor emerging trends and challenges in society and church and use those to help us reinvent what we do.

It is our desire to continue to provide effective resources, share examples and model lifestyles that help followers of Christ give birth to imaginative kingdom responses in preparation for growing future challenges. That means though that what we do this year may look very different from what we did last year and planning activities ahead for the next three years seems almost impossible. We rely heavily on Organic Strategic planning techniques and the Quaker Discernment process.

I am more and more convinced that one of the important roles of a ministry such as ours is akin to that of a spiritual director. Spiritual direction is a contemplative practice in which we help others look and listen for the mystery of God in all of life, and enable them to respond to that discovery in a growing relationship of freedom and commitment.

Effective leadership is not hierarchical or authoritarian. There is a growing understanding that it is a process in which we mobilize others around a shared vision and work together for societal and personal change that makes a difference in our lives, communities and needy world. All of us have the potential to be Christian leaders who encourage, nurture and enable others to become all that God intends them to be. In the process we often discover who God intends us to be as well.

This is a busy but exciting season for the MSA team and your prayers and support are very much appreciated. The response to our recent fundraising appeal has been the best ever. Thank you for helping us to equip others to change the future one mustard seed at a time.

Sincerely,
Christine Sine
Executive Director
Mustard Seed Associates