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I didnt’ mean to stay away for the last couple of weeks. In fact, I’ve been pretty busy traveling around the district, preaching and attending workshops–exactly the kinds of things I wanted to blog about here. But for whatever reasons, I found it difficult to fire up the old WordPress dashboard and type up a couple of posts. So here’s a few catch-up items….
After preaching in Saint Cloud a few weeks back, I made a quick trip to Davenport, Iowa with a group of folks from the Twin Cities to attend an all-day meeting on growth initiatives in Prairie Star. We were blessed with the presence of an number of wonderful people (including my fellow PSD staffers Nancy Heege and Sarah Greene), but the very important attendees were Bob Johnson, growth guru from the Joseph Priestly District and temporary PSD resident, and Kathy Burek, an excellent facilitator who’s volunteering a day a week or so to help the district with growth-related projects.
I did all of the driving for the TC group (seven hour trips each way), which left me pretty exhausted by the time we got back on Thursday evening. On Saturday, I facilitated a Family Chalice meeting at Unity Church with Bill Doherty, who’s recent Fah’s lecture on “Home Grown Religion” I blogged about a while back. Then on Sunday I headed down to Northfield, Minnesota to preach at the fellowship there. My friend and colleague Dawn Cooley has been working as a quarter-time consulting minister at the fellowship, and it was great to see her along with her two daughters and her husband there. I also had lunch with a couple old acquaintances (hard to believe I’ve been in Minnesota long enough to have some old acquaintances!).
Finally, I came down with a little something last week which slowed me down a bit. But I’m feeling much better after resting up over the three-day weekend.
Yesterday morning I got up early and worked on the sermon I was going to present later at the Saint Cloud UU Fellowship. Planning a short trip like this in January or February (or even in March!) can be risky here in Prairie Star, but the weather was cooperating for the most part–temperature in the low 30s and no snow. But there was a LOT of fog. Not quite enough to cancel the trip, but enough to make driving on I-94 West a bit of an adventure. One good thing about driving on Sunday mornings, though, is that there’s never much traffic. So a little fog didn’t hurt.
Once I got to Saint Cloud was warmly received. This was my second visit to the fellowship, and I was happy to see some new faces (as well as some old friends). They’re working on some growth plans right now, and the congregation seems to be poised to move into a new phase which includes being more visible in the community. At any rate, the sermon went well, I think. It’s a little long and needs a new ending, but I think it’s the one I’ll be using for my next preaching gigs (in Northfield and Fridley–both in Minnesota).
After the service we had a soup and bread lunch, and then I met with about a dozen church leaders to talk about safe congregations and right relations. I’m happy to say that the congregation has purchase the Reducing the Risk II resource kit, and one of their members is ready to take the exam to get the Safety Award in Reducing the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse. It was about 2:00 p.m. when the meeting was over. By that time the sun was out and the temperature had reached the high 40s, making the trip back home a pleasant Sunday afternoon drive.