July and August are the two months in the middle of our interim years. We have worked hard for more than a year, without really knowing whether this summer would find you preparing for new settled ministry or continuing in an interim ministry. We fully engaged in the tasks of interim ministry, and now we are integrating the shift in our trajectory. In September, with an ingathering celebration, we will step into the business of another year, completing the tasks we have started. During July and August, I invite you to enjoy a retreat.
Sometimes you have to step back to be able to view the mountain from the plain. Look ahead, look behind, and reflect on what we have accomplished. Where is it we want to go? What have we learned, about ourselves, East Shore, each other, and what does it mean to “Practice Love, Explore Spirituality, Build Community, and Promote Justice”? With the quieter, slower pace that summer offers I encourage us all to reflect and renew in a way the normal pace of our year does not always allow.
The word is retreat, not stop. To retreat is not to escape but to engage in the process in a deeper way. It is to gain distance, perspective, and insight. Without distance, without reflection some important nugget of creativity may be missed. Retreating requires the courage of not doing. It requires the patience of non-action to remain fresh. Retreating grants the time and distance from life that allows one to breathe. Respect for life, appreciation of differences, courage and patience can be found in the drawing in of one single breath. I invite you to take many deep, long breaths during July and August to revive your minds and hearts so that together we can fulfill the possibilities of our next interim year with satisfaction and joy.