Pastor’s Report,
December 14 to January 11, 2019

Monthly pastor’s reports are posted on the CMF bulletin board and online for accountability. Accountability has three parts; authenticity (openness about what is happening,) action ( what I did,) amends (when needed, fixing it.)

What generative things are emerging at CMF?

The open and rigorous engagement at Council retreat traversed important ground.

I heard members of the choir speak to the invigorating and transforming experience of rigorous choral music.

Liminal space, that tearing open of the heavens to communion with God was invoked by the choir singing, congregational song, instrumentalists and vocal assembles this Advent and Christmas

The small but engaged group of children age one to twelve as well as a few parents, embodied the story of the Nativity acting it out multiple times. A few parents named experiencing support and care in Christine and Hal and Jane and Charlie’s presence that evening.

The Sunday in Advent when we passed the Peace of Christ offering Fear Not.

The carefully planned celebration and recognition of Kevin, Elaine, and Joy’s contributions to community meal in worship and in fellowship time. Thank you for helping plan this, Christine! Kevin, Elaine, and Joy’s sharing of ways they experience the service, humor and encouragement of one another drew us into Community Meal.

There is so much thriving in our midst. We are stepping toward one another in many places and making space to innovate along the way. The Spirit is stirring among us.

What has happened since December 14: This past month, I tended to Pastoral responsibilities by:  

    • Soliciting and integrating feedback from sermon response forms. Thank you to each of you who took the time to fill them out. Please, keep this up. Feedback from a wide spectrum of people is incredibly helpful. Forms are on the CMF website and by the mailboxes in the gathering area.
    • Equipping the worship coordinators as well as worship leaders each Sunday.
    •     Meeting with the Community Meal cooks as they planned meals and created a plan for shopping and communication between themselves. Continuing to touch base with people heavily invested through this shifting leadership.
    •     Visiting with folks at Community Meal on the 2nd Tuesday of January. Building and deepening relationships is more noticeable as the group has gotten smaller. In December, one gentleman selected clothes from the Christmas gifts offered at Community Meal for his mother to wear to doctors appointments as she goes through cancer treatment. This past week, he wept as he named how close his mother is to dying and a long litany of family who have died from cancer. It was a holy moment of naming deep grief.
    • Preaching December 16, 23, and January 6. Designed the worship service in collaboration with song leaders as well as led worship December 3
    • A regular Community Meal participant without stable housing continues to spend one  morning a week at the Peace House using the shower and laundry facilities. She often spends another morning or two at the Peace House doing laundry and staying out of the cold prior to the library opening.
    • Attending Pastor Peer Group in Elida, Ohio with 10 other Ohio Mennonite pastors sharing worship and reflections from our lives as well as lunch.
    • Investing in building relationships through one-one-one meetings with seven individuals from the fellowship this month.  I also sought out and appreciated meaningful conversations in the context of meetings, community meal, and fellowship time before and after worship. The number of one-on-one meetings is down due to Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
    • Offering pastoral care through phone calls to a few people prior to Christmas.
    • Meeting with worship coordinator Rebecca Bromels for Epiphany (January/February) to plan worship. The theme Big Idea grew out of naming a desire to experiment in worship.
    • Regularly participating as a member of the CDC Ministerial Committee. This includes a monthly Zoom meeting and email communication.
    • The following committee meetings: council, consulted with Adult boundary crossing policy ad hoc group, worship, Purpose and Identity, Council planning, and Council retreat.
    • Fostering ecumenical relationships and building relationships with other clergy.

What is on the horizon for the pastor to tend in the coming month: What’s next?

  • Along with the Purpose and Identity working group, scheduling an evening meal and event to revisit and energize commitments.
  • Offering a theme for the coming year of CMF’s life:  Transformation. Sermon January 20 will introduce this.
  • Inviting others to join me in watching for and investing in transformation.
  • Equipping and supporting worship planning for Lent in March and Easter in April.
  • Planning in conversation with Council, a stewardship series in late April and May.
  • Continuing relationship-building efforts by both initiating conversations and accepting invitations to connect with people of CMF.
  • Reconvening SLT January 16.
  • Being disciplined in my own spiritual practices.  
  • Continuing the rhythm of meeting with committees and Council. Balancing encouragement and comfort with challenge to living into transformation, commitments, and bright ideas.
  • Preaching at North Baltimore Mennonite Church January 27. Schedule a time for the pulpit exchange at CMF.
  • Guest teaching in the preschool class, freeing the regular teachers to be part of leading adult forum on Brene Brown’s Belonging curriculum.  This is an important series that Naomi initiated.

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My proposed guidelines for approaching the budget gap: The gap between proposed budget and pledges in the upcoming budget year has been met with a one-time increase in pledges. This gives CMF the gift of a year to intentionally address the gap. I hope we do do three things with this gift of a year. 1) approach the situation from a lens of abundance, resisting the pull of fear based in scarcity. 2) intentionally discern or listen for God’s movement together as we approach decisions regarding the budget. 3) Tell the story of who and what we are being called to be through the narrative told by our budget.    What is not here: I am putting aside plans for a sabbatical for now.  

Vacation and Sick Time 

1 Vacation day and took holidays Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Day

Quarterly weekend offer January 13

1 sick day