This summer has been one of the biggest life transitions I have made since moving to California. In August of 2006, I packed up my car and left Boston to drive west to California. I spent the first year getting situated and by August of 2007 I had moved to an apartment in North Oakland, established a pretty wonderful network of friends and settled into my job as Youth Minister here at Christ the King.
I was pretty content with the life I had discovered here in the East Bay but after 7 years I felt that it was time for a challenge and a change. In Jan of 2013 I transitioned from a job I had been doing for 10 years (youth ministry) and started working as your pastoral associate. I was nervous about making this leap, unsure if I would be happy leaving the job that had become like second nature to me, and assuming challenges that were sure to mean learning curves which I hadn’t wanted to face in a long time.
Taking on this new challenge was one of the most rewarding decisions I had made in a long time. A new world opened up to me and I discovered strengths I didn’t know existed and became aware of weaknesses that I have started to own and work with. This process reminded me of a realization I had in 2006 when I left the only home I had ever known for a strange place and that lesson was that change is good and taking risks pays off. Change is scary and change is challenging but change is a catalyst for growth unlike anything else.
Facing this transition last year prepared me to face some even greater transformations this summer, from a large part of my network of friends deciding to leave the bay area due to increasing costs of living here, to moving in to a new apartment for the first time in 7 years, to preparing to enter a completely new work environment under the leadership of Father Paulson. September will be a brand new chapter in my life here in California and though I have so much gratitude for the past 7 years, I can’t help but feel as if the air is vibrating with possibilities and that there is much to look forward to.
One of the biggest challenges of making a huge transition is practicing humility. Growth means navigating new territory and walking into the unknown is sure to bring some missteps. Each step forward will bring new wisdom and greater confidence, but to reach the highest peaks, we will need to take some leaps of faith.
That is why I love the gospel this week so much; this gospel is the one of the few times Jesus makes a mistake. He goes against his own teaching and excludes a women based solely on her ethnicity, going as far as to call her a dog, but it only takes a moment of listening to her for him to realize his mistake, and correct it. Jesus isn’t afraid to admit when he is wrong, and he isn’t afraid to learn from his mistakes and grow past them, so I shouldn’t be afraid either.
I will try to keep reminding myself of Jesus humility and be patient with my own as I explore breaking some new ground. My new window view has already got me thinking and planning for the fall and here are some programs I can’t help but feel incredibly excited about. As the staff liaison to the Faith and Action group we have started to reimagine what our monthly second Thursday meeting should look like, and given all the scary and stressful things happening around the world we thought we could really use some time to pray for peace and justice. Each month we will host what we are calling “Thirsty Thursday” for those who hunger and thirst for Justice.
We will start with a communion service focused on justice and peace. During the service we will use the gospel for that coming Sunday and prepare to receive it by looking at it through a lens of justice and peace. This is sure to be a beautiful and inspiring communion service. After the service we will have a donation based happy hour where we will provide soda, beer, wine and sometimes a special seasonal cocktail and we ask you to bring a favorite appetizer or dessert to share. This will be time to build community and hear about upcoming justice based opportunities such as prayer vigils, protests, volunteer options and inspiring speakers.
Another thing I am excited to participate in this fall is the JustFaith program. This scripture based faith-sharing program series is meant to transform your faith life into a life of discipleship. JustFaith offers several different programs and this year at Christ the King I will be offering 2 versions: first starting in November, the flagship 30 week program, an intensive and in depth series that was the original catalyst for many of our Faith in Action members to get involved in social justice. Then in January we will be offering GoodNews People a 14 week program that is less intense but just as transformative as the 30 week.
I hope that you are getting excited for new opportunities too and that many of you will join me at our first ever Thirsty Thursday on October 9th at 7pm in the Parish Hall.