A. I've been captivated by the Karl Vaters article, "Will the Congregation Come Back?" He says to focus on that question is the wrong one, instead we need to ask these six questions:
1. Have we represented Jesus well during the lockdown?
2. Are we representing Jesus well coming out of the lockdown?
3. What have we learned and what are we still learning?
4. How can we better serve people at home?
5. How well are we serving our online members and visitors?
6. How are people hurting, and what can we do to help them?
You're wondering what this has to do with walking, biking, and public transit? Just stay with me for a few moments... Even though vaccines are now becoming more readily available, last night President Biden said BBQs on 4th of July, the return to full in-person worship is still an early fall reality. So why aren't churches thinking of ways to connect and fellowship other than worship in parking lots?
I propose this as the summer of local pilgrimages, dedicated spiritual walks. A way for the in-person and online communities to meet one another (I have found most of our online community lives within the Twin Cities metro area, most but not all). What better way for people to get to know one another than on a walk with a clear start and finish. When you arrive say a prayer, have lunch, sing a song, then say goodbye till the next one. I'm thinking of a walking tour of the neighborhood, stopping by each of the churches in our neighborhood. Offering prayers for each congregation and their ministries.
B. You can register, until March 24th, for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Good that Union Seminary in NYC is promoting this cohort. And do you know about CRCDS' new graduate certificate in Earth, Justice and Spirituality? Thanks to Andrea Learned I was reminded of the important work of Green Faith and religious leaders who ride bikes.
C. The biography of Eugene Peterson will debut on March 23rd. Now for the record I have no idea about his walking, biking, or taking public transit habits. But from reading his autobiography I learned when he did his seminary field placement at Madison Avenue Baptist Church, the senior pastor then, Rev. George Buttrick, did not drive a car and only used the public transit system or walked for his pastoring life.
D. A little song about the joy of riding a bike, "Wander" by Early Eyes for your listening pleasure: