September 5, 2013

The importance of storytelling has been a recurrent theme over the past several months. The teens have engaged in a storytelling project – connecting people’s stories to their favorite hymns. The adults engaged in some powerful storytelling at the church retreat as we shared stories and intently listened to and learned from one another. And if you were in worship on August 25, you had the privilege of being moved by Sheila Brown’s telling her story of participating in the 1963 March on Washington. Stories abound, and with them come the reminder to hold sacred the sharing of stories.

While attending an ABC Theologians Conference celebrating the work of God’s Spirit, I was encouraged to think of storytelling as a spiritual practice. In telling our own stories, we become vulnerable to our listeners – daring to let down our guard and let people into our lives. In listening to one another’s stories, we deepen trust – recognizing the sacred gift another is giving and connecting with them on a deeper level.

If you would like an opportunity to share a bit of your story, I encourage you to consider submitting a contribution to the Youth Writing Project. We are soliciting submissions (200-500 words) of your favorite hymn and why it is important to you. We are also looking for artwork (a visual form of storytelling) submissions for the cover of our book. The submission deadline for both items is October 15. Please let me know if you would like further information about either opportunity.

May we continue to participate in the spiritual practice of storytelling, and may we continue to hold sacred the ability to listen in on one another’s stories.