Reaching significant milestones is cause for reflection on the past and discernment on what the future may hold. Celebrating my fifth anniversary with St. James’, my fifth anniversary as a priest and reaching my 60th birthday I have spent significant time over the past couple months discerning where God may be calling my ministry to and what this might mean for St. James’. We have gotten to know each, to trust each other and perhaps, may I dare say, love each other. We know what to expect on Sunday morning. We have a format agreed on for bulletin, hymns, and changing church seasons. The Acolytes, Denise, the Altar Guild, the musicians and the Wardens know what to expect and when I forget to review the dimming of the lights for Christmas Eve the Acolytes and Wardens know what needs to be done. I sure have missed Gard over the past few weeks as he cares for his mother.
As we plan for our Annual Meeting, make plans for Christian Formation and plan the 2018 Vestry Retreat what direction are we headed, where are we going? I have spent considerable time in prayerful conversation with this subject in my fall retreat, with my Spiritual Director, my wardens and Bishop Whayne Hougland. This is an ongoing process, but I have come to the realization that I want and need to move from thinking to feeling, from my head to my heart and hope you will join me in this journey. I don’t know exactly what this will mean or what will change. There isn’t a documented roadmap for this process for me to follow. It will mean careful listening for God’s direction and some trial and error. The goal is Spiritual Growth, of moving from an intellectual, rational mode of operation to emotional, heart felt, spirit lead worship that impacts our lives every minute of the week. St. James’ is not to be a civic institution or a worship club, but a hospital for sin sick souls, a training ground for Spiritual Growth that we will carry us out into our homes, neighborhoods and schools and places of work.
I don’t really know what this means yet, but I am eager to find out. Bishop Whayne has challenged me to adopt as a Lenten discipline to operate from the perspective of how I feel rather than what I think. This will be a challenge for me. This is not the first time I have been asked to do this. I will need your help. Ask me how I feel about a subject rather than what I think. I hope you will join me in this challenge to work from our hearts rather than our heads. Intelligence is good. Rational thought is important, but so is our emotional intelligence. It is important to also be able to work from our hearts. Some of you may already be good at this, then I ask you to please help me. Remember I worked for over thirty years as a Mathematician, Programmer Analyst and an Information Services Project Manager. I am undoing years of training to be able to move from the rational to the emotional. I feel scared and challenged. I could not look the Bishop in the eye when he asked me how I was feeling, but I am also feeling excited and motivated to find out where this might take me. I invite you to join me in this journey to discover where God might lead us and what this may mean for me and for you in the future.
Rev. Darlene Kuhn,
A word from Mother Darlene