Entertaining Angels Unaware
I met Stefan at an evening we hosted in collaboration with The Overflow Project at the beginning of the year. He was looking for work, and we soon had him mowing lawns, weeding gardens and transforming a neglected space into a beautiful sacred space to sit and contemplate. I am looking forward to facilitating my first retreat in this transformed oasis.
Stefan is one of the many angels unaware who have blessed and enriched our community and our ministry in the last few months. He is more than a co-worker; he has become a friend and a part of the extended MSA community, often joining the MSA staff team for lively and sometimes deeply theological luncheon discussions. I am convinced that it is around the table like this that true discipleship happens and spiritual formation is most impacting.
Last week we hosted a conversation with Chris Smith and John Pattison, authors of Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus. It was a fun, instructive and thought-provoking evening, sowing the seeds for yet more kingdom- shaped friendships. You can catch a glimpse of this in this short video, the first of three short recordings of their interview with Tom. In the last one, John turns the tables and asks Tom about his insights into the future. John is hoping to join us for the Celtic retreat in August, and we look forward to other opportunities to collaborate.
On June 1st we co-hosted a conversation with Seattle School of Theology and Psychology on the challenges facing the Millennial Generation. I kicked off the day with a fun collaborative doodling exercise that stirred our imaginations in preparation for Tom’s introduction to futuring.
MSA student intern Jon Plummer presented a thoughtful profile of Millennials, which stirred great conversation, further fueled by a panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Forrest Inslee of Millennials discussing various issues from their perspective. Small groups gathered creative ideas and Cathy Loerzel sent us all away with the desire to create new possibilities that will enable this generation to fully enter into all that God intends for them.
We hope that this is just the first of a series of collaborative discussions on challenges facing followers of Christ in the future. Keep your eyes on the MSA website for the full series of videos from this event.
Andy Wade continues to share his insights on the MSA blog. Did you know that fungi are the way of the future? Check it out in this thoughtful article on intersectionality.
The Godspace series, “Hospitality: Opening Doorways to the Kingdom” is now underway with a suggested reading list, Celtic hospitality liturgy, and guest posts by Lynne Baab and Fay Williams, and this popular post I wrote early this week. As I say in my post Communion not Conversion, Slow Church not Fast Food, when I decided on this topic I had no idea how impacting it would be on my own life. It is helping me to rethink the focus of my faith and how I practice it. Communion not conversion. Eating together, sharing life and fellowship together, this is the place where we are inspired by Christ and fed by him to go out and do his work in the world.
Plans for our upcoming Celtic retreat are well and truly under way. Our summer intern, Cory Adam Baker from Seattle Pacific Seminary, will help develop and facilitate the program. Our theme this year is “Brigid and the Hospitality of God”. Music will be provided by Matt and Sundee Frazier and the Eucharistic celebration led by Rev. John Myers of Saint Andrews Episcopal Church in Seattle.
After lunch we will dedicate our first Mustard Seed Village building – our pole barn classroom. We have ordered the windows, which will be installed mid-July, but are still looking for recycled barn siding that we can use to finish the walls. We hope that you can join us for this exciting event. Do sign up soon to take advantage of the early bird special, which runs through to the end of June.
We continue work developing our first e-course, “Reimagining How We Pray”. Listening to Millennials talk about their desire to encounter God in every part of life, and their belief that we do not need to come to church to converse with God, has convinced me of the importance of moving in this direction for enhanced online learning.
I know that some of you are still considering how you can support this project, and we do pray that you will pledge a monthly donation to help us launch it later in the year. We are also planning a kickstarter campaign to run mid-July — mid-August. If you are unable to give monthly, this would be a wonderful way to support the development of this valuable resource.
Thank you for the concern many of you expressed at the loss of my tomato starts. I am sitting here looking out on their flourishing replacements. The nursery and soil company have offered a generous settlement and will provide me with 150 starts next year, compensate me for the cost of the soil, provide a gift certificate for Sky Nursery and a donation of soil (guaranteed herbicide free) to get our Mustard Seed Village garden started as well.
The overflowing generosity of God in all we are involved in often overwhelms me. God’s provision is so often unexpected and abundant.
God bless you and thank you for your continuing support of all we do at MSA,