Pastor’s Report,
November 8 to December 14 2018

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?

This month, my response to this question is a review of one day in the life of the fellowship. Sunday, December 2, the first Sunday of Advent. On this day, so many people took a step toward one another in creating, worshipping, committing, and leading. All this life unfolded at CMF on December 2.

  • Purpose and Identity working group met before the Christian formation hour to finalize written communication they had been working on all week by email.
  • The mentor coordinator hosted a semiannual breakfast gathering for mentors at the Peace House. The mentors shared about their experiences, offering one another encouragement, humor and practical ideas.
  • An ad hoc group developing policy to responding to boundary crossing between lay adult participants in our CMF community met. They are commitment to this work as a element of peacemaking.
  • Adult forum met to discuss John Paul Lederach’s book Reconciliation.
  • Preschool, middler, junior high and high school Christian formation classes met.
  • The Advent worship series “A Reckless Yes” began, generated out of discerning conversations that listened for how the Gospel intersects with our lives at this time. The service was a collaboration of gifts, planning, and the movement of the Spirit.
  • A group of 20 or so stayed after worship for choir practice preparing to bring the potency of choral music to worship later in the Advent season.   
  • After choir, a group shared lunch together at Baba Indiana before heading back to CMF.
  • An afternoon meeting of around 15 people committed to community meal met to discern its future. Each person named the commitments they were able to give to community meal at this time. Did we have what we needed to continue? We have enough cooks and so many people offering other supports to continue for another four months. A meeting in March will assess the sustainability of the model.

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 November 8: This past month, I tended to Pastoral responsibilities by:  

    • Preaching November 25, December 2, and December 9. I continue to live into the commitment to preach in ways that connect with the fellowship 40 Sundays per year or approximately 3 or 4 Sundays a month.
    • 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.
    • Sharing the pulpit with Greta Holt who preached November 11 about community as a central element of Mennonite faith. For the CMF Thanksgiving worship service, Tiffany Miller spoke about how she gives thanks with celebration around the table with friends and Jedd Cole shared a reflection wrestling with the shadow side of blessing, continuing our yearly tradition of hearing from members of our community during this service. I am grateful for their willingness to inhabit the role of preacher. This is a fulfillment of our theological understanding that all of us have the ability to read scripture in community and to listen for the movement of the Spirit in our lives together.
    • Continuing to work with the Purpose and Identity working group by shaping the report along with the facilitator, Troy Bronsink. We committed to continue the work of inviting those who were not at the retreat into the work of telling stories, imagining possibilities, and joining together in commitments to bring possibilities to life.
    • Equipping the worship coordinators for November and December, as well as worship leaders each Sunday.
    • Along with Christine Schumacher as Council chair, planning and leading a meeting of around 15 people committed to community meal and discerning its future. Each person named the commitment they had to give to community meal at this time. Did we have what we needed to continue? We have enough cooks and so many people offering other supports to continue for another four months. I will convene and facilitate a meeting of head cooks as they determine how to move forward. All those committed to community meal will meet again in March to assess sustainability of the model.
    • Visiting with folks at Community Meal on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month, while building and deepening relationships. I assisted Judy Vander Henst with the offering of Christmas gifts to folks at Community Meal. Your collective generosity in contributions was appreciated by those selecting from gently used and new clothing items, as well as blankets, personal hygiene items and games.
    • 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. This occurred three mornings. Two weeks my schedule did not allow for it.
    • Attending Mennonite Church USA event Women Doing Theology with the theme Talkin’ Bout a Revolution. LINK HERE> Greta Holt, Alison Troye, Eliza Lehman, and I all participated in the event, which drew women from across the country, Mexico and Central American countries. The event was held at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, filling the chapel space where worship and plenary sessions were held. Seminars and workshops were held throughout the campus. Men participated through an application process.
    • Investing in building relationships through one-one-one meetings with eight 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.
    • Offering pastoral care through notes of encouragement and gratitude as well as occasional phone calls and one on one visits.
    • Supporting PJOS in communicating with the fellowship through Tuesday Tidings, the bulletin, and sharing per their commitment to share about events and happenings in the community that we support financially and with volunteer efforts.
    • Supporting and equipping youth group gatherings.
    • Meeting with worship coordinator Rebecca Bromels for Epiphany (January/February) to plan worship. The theme Big Ideas grew out of some naming a desire to experiment in worship.
    • Regularly participating as a member of the CDC Ministerial Committee. This includes a monthly Zoom meeting.
    • Participating in the December CDC pastor peer group meeting in Columbus building relationships.
    • Investing in interfaith relationship building with clergy colleagues, staying attuned to the work of the Cincinnati Sanctuary Network of congregations. Are there ways individuals from CMF can contribute?
    • Meeting with PCRC.
    • Attending a retreat sponsored by Ministering to Ministers November 27 to 20.
    • Attending  spiritual direction.

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, following up with commitments offering encouragement and inviting people in.
  • Offering a theme for the coming year of CMF’s life: Living Bright Ideas.
  • Inviting others to join me in watching for where our lives together are thriving.
  • Equipping and supporting worship planning for Epiphany and Lent in March.
  • Continuing relationship-building efforts by both initiating conversations and accepting invitations to connect with people.
  • 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 of bright ideas.

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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 

One vacation day used-  November 23

Four days of professional development

2 days attending a conference

Upcoming vacation:

December 27-29, 31 & January 1

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