Summer is in full swing in Florida. Heat. Humidity. Afternoon showers followed by even more humidity. it's summer! I have been working as Organizing Pastor for a new church start near Amelia Island, Florida. We recently made the decision that this work will not continue, so I am seeking another call and wondering what's next. In the meantime, I am doing some interim work for a congregation that has just begun to search for a new pastor.
Just finished Greg Garrett's The Other Jesus. Everyone probably ought to read it.
In fiction, couldn't put down Welcome to the Fallen Paradise by Dayne Sherman. Read it in almost one sitting. Good southern stuff.
John S. Kloppenborg's Q The Earliest Gospel. Interesting, especially the connections between Q and James.
Douglas Ottati's Theology for Liberal Presbyterians and Other Endangered Species, which I heartily recommend, even for those who will need help getting past that word in the title. I'm with him: either we believe and trust grace, or we don't!
Martin Thielen's What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Turned out to be less than I had hoped it would be, but still helpful. Would be fun to do a short term discussion with a group.
Right now, I'm indulging myself (Yes, I know it's Lent.) by reading the first four years of New Stories from the South, a collection of stories I've been reading at Christmas for years. Finally got the first four years I didn't have and and treating myself.
Closing a Church before it really got started was not in my plans when I came to Florida to help organize a new congregation. The economy had things other than those we had planned in mind for our work, and now it has ended. for the past several weeks, Deanna and I have continued to meet with a very small group of people from the Providence congregation for worship on Sundays. One of the first things we talked about when we gathered in that small group was how we could continue our participation in the Interfaith Dinner Network, an effort to feed the hungry of our community two nights a week. Our church had been involved in this important ministry from it's planning phase through full implementation. We were privileged to serve the very first meal (to a whopping total of seven people) when the ministry finally began in a former school facility. By the time our church was making plans to close, the program was serving upwards of 30 people two nights a week and making plans to expand to a third night later this year. Our second Thursday night time slot had become a regular fixture on the calendars of those of us committed to this opportunity to serve. One of the things of which I am most proud as I look back over the work we did over the past three years is this ministry with people who would likely never have become part of the congregation even if it had developed. I continue to be proud that a small group of people intend to continue to serve those people supper even now that they are finding other places to worship, learn, serve, and grow. Even though the congregation we had planned will not be a part of the landscape of our community, the desire of this small group to help others will. We've served some mighty fine barbecued chicken, spaghetti and meat balls, shepherd's pie, and lots of other things, we're told. I don't know what will be on the menu for August, but I'm grateful something will. Thanks be to God!