These are some of the words offered as a closing prayer by the brave souls who came out on a snowy Saturday morning and joined Ruth Whalen Crockett and me in a heart-filled conversation about money at First Parish Chelmsford:
Hope, Inspiration, Community, Do-Re-Mi, Fun, Grateful, Positivity, Optimism, Process, Pride, Love
Yes, all those lovely words uttered at the end of a morning spent talking about money! I was pretty sure that the conversation would be helpful, informative, but as so often happens with all of you, my heart opened wide as I experienced your willingness to risk sharing your own stories, listening to each other’s, and being open to being moved and even changed by each other. One of the take-aways was that even though we share a lot in common in this congregation, there are differences in our backgrounds and in the lessons we’ve learned about and the experiences we’ve had with money, both growing up, and in our adult lives. Those differences affect how we make decisions and how we think and how we feel when issues of money come up: the raising, saving, and spending of money. By exposing and examining those different experiences and assumptions, we have a much better chance of truly hearing one another. I am confident that these conversations will continue as we move forward with the capital campaign and the canvass, and as you make decisions together about how to fund the sacred work of this community of faith. It is a privilege to be part of these conversations with you. I offer deep gratitude to Ruth Whalen Crockett, who is a gifted facilitator and teacher and a wonderful model of open-hearted communication. Blessings abound in this congregation.
I would be remiss if I did not include a word of reminder that my time with you as your intern minister is coming to a close over the next four months. I will be with you through this church year, and then I will be moving on to my first job in professional ministry (not sure exactly where yet, but I will let you all know when I know!). Saying goodbye well is important – sad, but also beautiful as we take the time to celebrate our shared ministry and to honor our connection to each other. I am so grateful for my time with you, and I will carry you all with me as I go forth to serve our faith.