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A time for rest and renewal

Greetings St. James Community,

We are on the cusp of the weather changing. We’ve enjoyed the last burst of summer weather lately as we move into the fall. As of writing this, tomorrow the temperatures will drop to the 50's and 60’s.

I do love autumn. It’s my favorite season and one that I don’t take for granted. I lived in northern Texas for my seminary internship. While there, I experienced much less seasonal shifts. I think this is why I love it even more now.

This is actually our first fall here in Lake Forest/Lake Bluff as a family. We moved to the area in December of last year. It has been beautiful watching the leaves change, especially in our own front yard. Maya has enjoyed making a pile of leaves on our front porch–mostly so the “nature” doesn’t come into the house as much. Some things I’m looking forward to in the fall are:

-All the Halloween/Fall Festivals around town

-Pumpkin carving

-Pumpkin pie

-Jumping in leaves ;)

-Trick or Treating in the neighborhood

-Sweater weather!

-A brief family vacation this week

I had also been looking forward to this week. I had the privilege of attending the Rostered Ministers Gathering for the Metropolitan Chicago Synod held at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wisconsin earlier this week. I gathered with about 100 of my colleagues spread out across the Chicagoland area.

Situated on Lake Delavan, it was a beautiful setting to dwell with God and with each other.

The Bishop of the South Central Synod of Wisconsin, Bishop Joy Mortensen-Wiebe welcomed us and preached the gospel message in our first worship service. Our keynote speaker was Bishop Kevin Strickland of the Southeastern Synod. He gave a wonderful talk on adaptive leadership that resonated with many of us. Our main speaker was Dr. Andrea Hollingsworth, who was with us throughout the conference.

Dr. Hollingsworth’s presentations were focused on helping the group find rest and refreshment as we leaned into the healing power of self-compassion. After three days of being poured into, listened to, and supported, I felt equipped and inspired to lead with greater compassion in our congregation, in the community and in my personal life.

The retreat was soul filling for me. It provided the space and opportunity to connect with many of my colleagues and deepen bonds between us. We don’t always realize how disconnected we can be from each other as we go about our lives. It was lovely to have friends and colleagues at my fingertips for the week.

We have much to look forward to as a congregation in this season as well. I am excited to officially welcome a handful of people to St. James next Sunday, Oct. 15th in our 10am worship service. I find this time right now to be a season of anticipation. We are moving towards the end of the time after Pentecost Season as we near Reformation Sunday Oct. 29th then All Saints Sunday.

Those two worship services can be so powerful. I will remind us all to wear the color red for Reformation Sunday. We will hear the traditional readings for Reformation that Sunday and have our eyes looking backward to our tradition’s founder, Martin Luther, and looking forward to what the Reformation means for us and looks like in our lives today. All Saints is one of my favorite services as we honor and celebrate the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us into God’s glory.

There is much to give thanks for at this time. For me, I thank all of you for the time and space you have allotted me for rest and renewal both professionally and personally. I look forward to the congregation meeting and hearing the good news from Rev. Rebecca Gordon this Sunday as I take some much appreciated time with my family.

I pray you all stay healthy and well this week. I will look forward to hearing all about how things go this Sunday when I return on Oct. 11th.

God bless and keep you,

-P. Amy


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