The audience for this reflection is not my typical blog readers, but members of my cnurch. However, I'm thinking about many of you as I write this so I'm posting it here.
It is so important to surround yourself with people that "get" you. It is rare to find these special people who understand things about you without you having to find words to express it. And though these people are rare, you know that you have found one when it seems like you have known this person for your entire life -- when actually, you have only known them a few weeks.
Moving to a new place far from these rare people that "get" me has been tough. I would be lying if I said it was easy. So, I won't lie. It has been hard. But, the Spirit is always working. The Spirit doesn't want to hear me complain or whine. Instead, She moves me to new places to do new things.
She moved me to Hartford in the beginning of the summer where I found myself among other clergy like me. We are rare in the UCC. Currently, only 4% of ordained clergy in the UCC are under the age of 40. There are only 7 of us in Maine. I have been active in this small group of clergy since I arrived in Maine. We get together to have lunch. We email and share in the journey together. Going to Hartford, I found myself surrounded by others just like the 7 of us from Maine -- members of the 2030 Clergy Network made up of clergy under the age of 40 in the UCC. These are people that "get" me. I didn't have to say a word. They understood.
But, the Spirit wasn't done with me. For my week of continuing education, I had made plans to attend a conference entitled Preaching as Testimony: A Conference for Women Preachers under 40 at the College of Preachers in Washington DC. I was not prepared for what the Spirit presented in DC. I had come to this conference through a connection I had made through the internet (it amazes me how many connections I have on the internet). Before I had even arrived, I had agreed to be part of the board of this newly formed organization, The Young Clergy Women Project. I was uncertain that the Spirit was in this decision. But, I know that we all need those people that "get" us. So, I went to DC to see what might happen.
And the Spirit was already at work. I just didn't know it yet. I discovered other woemn like me. We were all there for the same reason. Of course, we wanted to be better preachers but the real reason that we were called to DC was for fellowship. None of us knew that this was a call until we sat down to dinner on that first night. I didn't have to say a word. They got me. And I got them. These movements of the Spirit are hard to explain. But, if it has ever happened to you that everything seems just a little too perfect, then you know what it feels like to be blessed by the Spirit. I continue to be fed by this community of women that I encountered in DC. I am inspired by the conviction of their faith. And more than anything, I'm so hopeful about the church. Who knew that this is what the Spirit wanted me to learn this summer? What did She teach you?