Monday, July 11, 2011


Just as I’m getting ready to celebrate my first day with no shit on the steps, I open the door and see it. The worst yet. Down one of our sandstone columns and three steps. Don’t even want to imagine how that was done. So back to the dehumidifer water, buckets, bleach, mops, me in my Sunday clothes. Takes 45 minutes and I’m soaked in sweat. And now very behind.
Andre walks in  as I’m finishing the service. He’s noticed the wet steps. Assumes what has happened. We talk about me and hb. Andre says its all because we allow people to sleeon the steps. I say I don’t mind as long as its clean in the morning. He looks at me like I’m the one who’s crazy. I finish the service and head to the copy shop. 
When I get back, Jeremy has arrived. He’ll be playing today. Jane shortly thereafter. She’ll be leading us in a visioning exercise as part of worship. People start arriving. John is back for the third Sunday in a row. He always fist bumps for a greeting. I like that. So he'll be fist bump John, as opposed to the other John. And a young woman with a striking tattoo. Getting regular visitors now. Jeremy not a great sight reader but feels his way into the music with heart and soul. 

My heart leaps when I see Hector. It's his first time  here since we've been back. He's one of our Euclid Hall folks, noted for his wide collection of military uniforms and hats. A quiet and gentle presence. His return makes our circle feel more complete. Like a missing family member returned.
After I’ve read the parable of the sower, Jane takes over. Talks about the difference between prayer and meditation, talking to God versus listening for God’s leading. She’s got four questions: 
  1. What is God’s best purpose for West-Park at this moment?
  2. What is my part in that?
  3. What do  have to give up?
  4. What do I have to add?
And through silence and Jeremy’s playing, we listen. I’m amazed at the responses. The acceptance of having to give up on the past. The what was. The sense of loss, of pain, disappointment, in order to make room for what could be. They are beginning to trust her, her care and concern for us, a fellow traveller who’s been there. 
We give thanks for what has been offered, revealed. And we conclude with our circle of blessing.
This determined band of faithful froze together all winter. And now we sweat.
The Session meets. Lots to deal with. The Woodshed agreement, their impact on our lives the next several months. Our various legal issues. The ongoing relationship with Presbytery, the financial razor’s edge we live on. Lots to deal with. Marsha helps put the office back in order in anticipation of Danielle’s return.
Hope and I lock up. Talk about our upcoming interiew on WBAI on the anti-sweatshop campaign. I lock up the doors. We walk out together into the sun, the July heat.

                                      * * * *

Here's what we heard as we listened....

Question 1. What is God's Highest and Best Calling for West Park Presbyterian Church?

A sense of re- formation
To be a blessing in the world.
To be a place where ALL are welcome and where the least of these actually experience that welcome.
A supportive learning community in which people grow spiritually.
To be a "thorn" in the face of complacency and despair.

Question 2- What Is My Part In That?

To be an ambassador for West Park and our version of liberal Christianity.
To be attentive.
To know and be known.

Question 3- What Do I Have To Let Go Of?

Fear and Distress
Let go of "childishness" and as a younger member be a stronger member.
Let go of a sense that we will be rescued.
Let go of pride, hurt, and sense of loss and pain of the past.

Release brain injury as central part of identity.

Question 4- What Do I Need To Add?

Both feet.
Charity, consistency, reliability, accountability.
Find the fun.

Question 5. Is there anything else we need to know?

Nothing at this time.


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