I think my love for a working place to dream started, oddly enough, in hotel rooms as a kid. Our family traveled occasionally for short stays while at a conference with dad or on a non-beach vacation. I’d enter the room, put my things down, and go straight for the desk to set up my ‘work station.’ I’d brought along my own supplies — colored paper, fancy pens, stickers galore — and would delight in finding whatever notepads or Bic pens the hotel would leave for their guests. There was just something about the thrill of the preparation, the ordered space where ideas could emerge, the fresh pad that became a blank slate upon which to dream, the tools that allowed creativity to soar.

My tools now look less like hotel stationary and far more like white boards, piles of books, laptops with a fresh Google Doc on-screen, and (most thankfully!) a brilliant team of dreamers with whom I am so thankful to share in bringing ideas to life. But the spirit of discovery, of what might emerge at the start of a new season, of imagination given space to enflesh is still among my favorite delights in this life. 

That’s why I love the summer in ministry, when regular rhythms slow for the dreaming season to accelerate. That’s the head space your staff has been in this summer, as together, we have found new rhythms as a team and prioritized discernment and dreaming about how God might be calling us in this school year. Our white boards have been filled and filled again, spreadsheets and scribbles have held our big ideas. We’ve planned Bible studies and mission experiences, Advent and Lent, fellowship opportunities and times to broaden farther and wider than we’ve yet done together. We’ve imagined vital conversations sparking and taking root, worship that will stir soul and spirit, and all that we’ll be able to do once the building project concludes! It has been a generative season — a growing season — and now it’s time to plunge our hands into the garden of bold love and boundless compassion that God has called us to tend!

I am so excited for this Sunday and the ‘fall kickoff’ we’ll share together! In all our dreaming, we never quite landed on a name that could express what we hope our time Sunday will be — time to share those sketches and scribbles, time to look together at what might emerge in the year ahead, time to imagine how we — individually and together — might respond to God’s holy invitation to our beloved community. 

As we prepare for a new school year, a new year in the rhythms of our church, and new ways to express how God is at work, I suppose ‘fall kickoff’ is appropriate. “Kickoff” means “to start out, to begin, to mark the beginning of.” What might God start out in you? How might Christ begin again among us? What mark will the Spirit make in our community through our beloved community at this dawning?

Join us for holy discovery this Sunday, August 25, at 9:00am in Kelly Auditorium. You can pull right into our back parking lot for the first time in over a year (read more in today’s Building Update to get all the details!), and we’ll start with breakfast goodies and coffee as the morning begins. 

God will meet us there. The slate, the space, the stirrings, the season just need you!

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

Ps- Just for fun, here’s a picture of my three yesterday morning as we set out for Liam’s first day of first grade. Newbeginnings everywhere! (And yes, I loved every bit of picking out school supplies with him!)

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