September 6, 2012

Traveling provides unique opportunities to encounter God in extraordinary ways. In the past month, I went on three work-related trips that allowed me to be formed by God’s Spirit in a three equally significant but very different ways.

At the end of July, Sheila Sims and I took five Lakeshore teens to Washington D.C. There we worshipped God with over 1000 others from American Baptist Youth Groups from across the country. Together, we provided over 7,500 hours of mission work to various work sites in the District. We learned about several advocacy groups and met in small groups to explore Biblical teachings about how to live out our faith in our daily lives. Following the National Gathering of American Baptist Youth, our small group spent a few days touring Washington D.C. We feasted on the gift of free education as we immersed ourselves in the Smithsonian museums. We wrestled with God’s presence and absence as we visited the Holocaust Museum. And we stood in awe of sacred space as we toured the National Cathedral. I hope you can join us for the Forum on September 16 as the D.C. travelers share stories, pictures and experiences.

In early August, I headed to Redwood Glen for a weekend with my church family. 49 of us gathered in the redwood forest for a time of fellowship, spiritual renewal, play and worship. We were an intergenerational family that actually had time to sit down and eat meals together, share stories and talents, try new things like archery or jewelry making, and work on a really hard puzzle! We explored ways in which we often unconsciously look at the world and what it means to see one another through God’s eyes.

In mid-August, I headed to Green Lake, Wisconsin, for the Ministers Council Senate. The Ministers Council is a national organization that commits to cultivate community, spirituality and leadership among American Baptist ministers of all stripes. I serve as the Senator of the Bay Area’s local Ministers Council. While in Green Lake, I was able to draw support from other pastors, share some of my joys and struggles of pastoring, and pray with others over our shared ministries. We also strategized together how we can continue to cultivate community, spiritual growth and leadership among AB pastors across the country. We elected a new Executive Director for the group, and I am excited about the ways in which God’s spirit will continue to work among ABC pastors in the years ahead.

Each trip left its mark on me, and you will likely see glimpses of their impact in the months ahead. I am grateful for the ability to travel, and the experiences it affords. I am equally grateful to return home to the Lakeshore community, and settle into another season of living out our faith together.