Thursday, August 30, 2007

I LOVE vacation

For the last few days I have been enjoying a long awaited and much needed vacation. While I have been away for much of the summer it has been for classes, camp, and other work related things. It has been since May that I actually had a vacation. And much to my shagrine, the busyness of the summer has also meant that I have missed 3 sabbath days--that's a lot for me as before that I have only missed a total of 8 in the last 2.5 years. Pre-vacation I was feeling quite worn down and uninspired. So, as soon as I began vacation, I was elated. I drove out of town rocking out to the Beatles "Birthday Song" and shouting "I'm on vacation!!!!!!!!!!!" it was marvelous!Absolutely marvelous. While away, I got to catch up with old friends, to see Mt. Vernon, to see DC by night, to play at Coney Island, and relax at Fire Island. Normally while on vacation I just relax and hang out. Mostly, I use it as a time to restore and rejuvenate. However, this time I was out and about just about every day. I ran around and played, and while I got only a minimal amount of sleep, I had a blast! I am having so much fun I can hardly muster the ganas to return to work and begin again. I want to stay and play.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


This summer I was gifted "Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference?" by Philip Yancey by our adult Sunday School class. With my ceaseless list of things to do, I have hardly have time to read it, I am only into the third chapter thus far. Nevertheless, there have been some quotable quotes I thought I'd share...

"Like a flash of lightening, prayer exposes for a nanosecond what I would prefer to ignore: my own true state of fragile dependence. The undone tasks accumulating at home, my family and every other relation, temptations, health, plans for the future--all these I bring into that larger reality, God's sphere, where I find them curiously upended." (p.21)

"Prayer helps correct myopia, calling to mind a perspective I daily forget. I keep reversing roles, thinking of ways in which God should serve me, rather than vice versa." (p.21)

"When I shift direction, I realize that God already cares about my concerns--my uncle's cancer, world peace, a broken family, a rebellious teenager--more than I do." (p.23)

"I begin with God, who bears primary responsibility for what happens on earth, and ask what part I can play in God's work on earth." (p.23)

"Fundamentally [prayer] is a position, a placement of oneself." --Patricia Hampl (p.25)

"Only through prayer can I belive that truth [that God is God] in the midst of a world that colludes to suppress, not exalt, God." (p.25)

"'Be still and know that I am god': the Latin imperative for 'be still' is vacate. As Simon Tugwell explains. 'God invites us to take a holiday [vacation], to stop being God for a while, and let [God] be God.' Too often we think of prayer as a serious chore, something that must be scheduled around other appointments, shoehorned in among other pressing activities. We miss the point, says Tugwell: 'God is inviting us to take a break, to play truant. We can stop doing all those important things we have to do in our capacity as God, and leave it to [God] to be God.' Prayer allows me to admit my failures, weaknesses, and limitations to One who responds to human vulnerability with infinite mercy." (p. 26)

Quote of the Day

"I mean, I like loud people, but she makes me want to take my hearing aids out!" --SDS


Today I got to spend the day with a friend of mine from when I lived in Spain. She is in the military and was recently moved to the DC area, which is near where I am spending my vacation with my goddaughter and her parents. We started planning a couple weeks ago and as I anticipated our visit, I was flooded with memories from our days in Spain. She and I met my first night in Spain. She lived with my Senora's sister in an apartment complex caddy-corner to mine. We generally walked to and from school together (usually twice a day) and then spent most of our nights out or our weekend travel times together in those five months. She and I would talk and talk as we wandered through the haphazardly designed streets of Granada and we grew quite close. I suppose I didn't realize just how close until today. I haven't seen R in almost 5 years; our last reunion was about 6 months after we left Spain when I was in Chicago for a conference. Today, almost instantly, she was familiar, not just old friend "yeah-we-know-each-other" familiar, but comfy old sweatshirt familiar. Her mannerisms, dialect, and tastes are much the same. I could expect various responses or interests or inclinations as the day went by and it was such a welcome feeling.

R is amazingly easy to talk with and she freely shared stories (within the bounds of her rules of confidentiality and disclosure) from her time in the military over the last 4 years. We talked about moments in Spain and caught up on family, relationships, and everyday things. She and I left the house after breakfast and headed toward Mt. Vernon and I listened intently as she recounted stories of her continued travels...all until I bothered to recheck the map and found that we had missed a turn somewhere and were not where we needed to be. Now, in understanding the dynamic between R and me, you must know that we got lost on countless occasions while living in Spain. On our first night, after dinner, my Senora suggested we walk to our morning meeting spot so we would be familiar with the route. We gladly agreed and set out together with a map of Granada. Once we arrived at the Plaza Isabel, we figured we knew our way to school, so I suggested we take a different route back to familiarize ourselves with the city. So we began winding through the cobblestone streets in what seemed like the general direction of our apartments. However, we soon realized, Granada is not laid out in a grid format, the design of the streets is much more akin to spaghetti thrown on the table and turned into a city street system. There were no parallels or perpendiculars to guide our path home, only guesses and regular looks at the map until we arrived home, nearly an hour later than we should have.

Unfortunately, that first night there was only a forshadowing of what was to come. Over the next two weeks, we were lost repeatedly, the worst of which was one night when we wandered for 2.5 hours in order to arrive home. Now, I was not going to be overly stressed about being lost, so instead I would laugh hysterically at our mishaps, a fact which only served to aggravate R further as we sought to find our way home. So, now, 6.5 years later, when placed together, our generally well-guided internal compasses go haywire and we inevitably ended up lost. On the way to Mt. Vernon, we took the wrong turn, as I indicated, but easily found our way back to the roads we need to be on, a detour of maybe only 10 minutes. But on the way back, boy did we relive our glory days. A wrong turn here, a confusing map there, a wrong U-turn, again, a stop for directions, another U-turn and much laughter, some frustration, and some 35 minutes later, we were on our way home.

I wish I had digital pictures from our days in Spain, it would make it much more fun and interesting to share more stories with you all. We tried local cuisine, struggled with our Senoras, traveled near and far, met countless strange men along our paths, and enjoyed the life of study abroad during those days. I am grateful for R, not just who she is, but what she has offered to my life along the way, and even more for the way her easy-going presence draws me into amazing memories!

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Dating Game

This year during the clergy session at conference, JF said there were dating guidelines in the Journal. I was actually excited to hear that revelation! Years ago my brother gave me "The Idiots Guide to Dating" and while I've read it, I have not found dating to be any less complicated. So, I thought, "Great! Someone has put out dating guidelines for pastors--that could help a ton." I was wrong. Oh so wrong. As soon as I returned home, I flipped to the page with the dating guidelines and there they were, one simple paragraph, maybe 2, talking about not dating parishioners, or, if one is to date a parishioner, what the proper protocol is. Okay, I already knew that rule, there was nothing revelatory relayed there, and, in reality, 1) I already have a "no dating parishioners" rule for myself and 2) While I do have a penchant for attracting the old and quirky, I am not inclined to date any of my 65+ know?!?! So, for the record, the Journal failed me.

Dating still remains a complicated mystery to me. My parents have remarked on multiple occasions that they think I should date. They think it would be fun, that I'd enjoy myself and I'd get to meet some neat people. I am not convinced of the same. For starters, I am fairly convinced that the rules of dating have changed so drastically in the last 35 years, that there is hardly room for comparison. It seems there isn't simply a dinner out or a simple movie, or maybe I pick the wrong men. Who knows? But what I do know is that even the defining lines are blurry. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that men know women are more reluctant to simply be asked on a date, so there is no longer a direct dating invitation "Hey, would you like to go out sometime?" Instead, to be less intimidating or less straightforward, the invitation gets boiled down to "maybe we could go for coffee sometime?" or "maybe we could grab lunch?" there is no explicit "date" language, which makes it all a bit fuzzy. I go for coffee and lunch and even dinner with friends, (single male friends even), so what is it that distinguishes these *other* outings as an actual date? That's what I want to know. And what, exactly, are the rules?? All I want is a little clarity!

Something of Substance

Over the last few months I have felt stiffled in my blog writing. For those of you who have read since the beginning, I used to write 2-3 posts almost daily. I was full of thoughts and ideas and things to share, and lately it seems I come up blank. I yearn for inspiration, for ideas and thoughts that seem to matter in the larger spectrum of life and thought and being. I can't figure out if I've simply petered out because that's what bloggers do, or if I am lacking appropriate stimulation, or if somehow my thoughts and imagination have been truncated by what's been happening (or not) in the world around me. My purpose in blogging has changed, gone through waves or cycles, so to speak. Sometimes I blog to help myself process. Sometimes I blog to provoke thought or to share the bizarre things that happen in my everyday life. And now, as I think about blogging, I want to be contributing something of substance. I want my words to not be airy or trivial, but to be empowering, inspiring, or provocative. Now, all of that may actually speak to some other personal need I have now. If I were back in CPE, I might be challenged to think through why I need to have such influence, why it is insufficient to just be me and share whatever it is that is wandering through the highways of my brain? And, I suppose, regretfully, that would be a legitimate challenge--one I should try and answer. And I guess the best answer I have these days is that I want to make a difference in life. I know I won't be the next Messiah, and I am grateful for that, but I do want to have an impact on the world--which in turn means specifically on people. But, if I really think about it, those who read my blog surely do not come to this page for that purpose--to be transformed, transfixed, or provoked. To my knowledge, which is limited, most of my readers know me outside of the blogosphere and others, mostly, are tied to the UMC in some form or fashion, which probably means they read because they want to know what is happening with me and my life, or because they are trying to have some sort of notion of what else is being thought/done in the UMC. So really, the mundane is what counts. The everyday, is what my friends and family want to know about, and the accounts of church life are what others are seeking. So, as I think through this and write it out, it is clear to me I am not the guru I wish I were, but, yet again, have to swallow the bland reality that I am just another "Jane" in the world of bloggers, who sometimes writes the "cotidiano" and other days writes the "inspirado".

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Different One

So, this morning I was slated to preach in the English service--the first time since the new pastor arrived. Being in charge of the service, I decided for the opening prayer we would sing a song I learned in seminary and love. "Welcome Holy Spirit. Welcome to this Place. You are wonderful, marvelous, glorious, in this place." I called a group of choir members (they are on vacation for August) and recruited my parents who were coming to hear me preach and we practiced before worship and then lead the congregation. I told/reminded the congregation that prayers are not just spoken, but they are also silence, song, and movement. So we did our opening prayer/song and then the passing of the peace. Now, two interesting things happened. 1) when I went out into the aisles to greet people, one of the women who had fussed at me about the first bilingual service last year greeted me. Now, last week she had said, "we are really looking forward to hearing you preach" (good....I think....I don't know what they were expecting, but good....) and then this week she said, "You sure do things differently, don't you?!?" I laughed, "yes ma'am, I do!"

It is true, there really is no denying it, I do things differently. I like mixing things up, working "outside the box" because I think that's when we learn and grow more profoundly. If we always stick to the same, we are never challenged and we can't hardly grow from the richness and depth of other traditions that surround us. So, yes, I do things differently. I think if people just accepted that fact it would all much more smoothly because then at least they'd know not to expect the expected from me!

The second interesting thing happened when I returned to the chancel, my senior said, "should we pray?". I smiled and said we just did! Our song was a prayer! (is it really that hard to grasp??) I showed him the script of the service and asked if he planned to skip the children's time and go straight to the congregational prayer....he realized, I guess, that he was skipping ahead and let me continue with the kids moment. Now, it could have been an honest mistake of him getting ahead of himself in the order or worship, or it could have been that he, much like my congregants, doesn't see my acts of "differentness" as fitting with the expected norms and standards and so wanted to be sure we prayed as we began worship....who knows?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pick up lines

I am sure you have all heard the lame pick up lines that make their way around. I remember my first true encounter with one was when I was in high school (junior or senior maybe) and I was walking into K-Mart after a Mock Trial competition and a guy, who I later recognized as a member of the opposing team, said, "You're feet must be tired." (and I'm thinking, well they are actually, all day in heals, but how would you know and why do you care?) and I say, "What?" Him: "You're feet must be tired." Me: "huh?" "You're feet must be tired 'cause you been runnin' through my mind all day." Me: "Oh....yeah.....right....whatever." Ahhh pick up lines. I'm not sure why or how they actually work. I have yet to hear a really good one. Though two from conversations in the last two days might just work for me.

1) "Well....he doesn't shop at Walmart, says he hates big business." (sweet! he earned bonus points right there! who needs an actual pick up line when you have things like "he doesn't shop at Walmart!?!?)

2) The other came after I talked with someone who I haven't exactly been marvelous toward in the last few days and I asked, "why are you so nice to me?" to which he replied: "I want to be good to you because I consider myself the likeness and image of God, and I want that image to be reflected in me more and more, in better ways, each day" (now that's a good line!)

Color of my mind

Your Brain is Blue

Of all the brain types, yours is the most mellow.
You tend to be in a meditative state most of the time. You don't try to think away your troubles.
Your thoughts are realistic, fresh, and honest. You truly see things as how they are.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your friends, your surroundings, and your life.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The joy of relaxtion

This weekend's camping trip was planned and organized completely by the parents of one of my youth. They booked the site, got the tents, bought the food, planned the schedule and games. They sponsored the WHOLE thing. Any time I offered to do anything A refused. She didn't want my money, she didn't want me to have to stress about the program at all. God bless her. =) Even once we were up there A wouldn't let me cook or clean, she wanted me to relax and enjoy myself. It was nice. Especially because A is the type of person who gets things done and gets them done right. So I don't worry about what she might come up with or want to do. I know that if A is in charge it's smooth sailing. I got to sleep in (until 7am) on Sunday, and coffee and breakfast were ready for me when I got up. I didn't have to wash the dishes or do much more than play with the kids, lead worship, and relax where I could. The hosting family also camps in style--super posh! Air mattresses, a little camping table that has a sink and a counter, the fire pit, the grill, a griddle, the screen tent to cover the table and game area (oh wait...just the fact that there is a "game area" is posh....) The whole weekend I was thinking....I need to camp more. This is sweet! I probably need to camp with them, but that's cool! Fine by me. yep. I got spoiled. But I'm okay with that.

Feeling the Love

As many of you know, ministry can be a pretty rough gig. There can be harsh critiques, frustrating meetings, and seeming lack of progress, all of which can put a big damper on one's notions of self--effectiveness, efficiency, capabilities....all of those things can easily come into question. It used to be that when I heard a pastor say, in response to a compliment or affirmation, that it wasn't what he/she had done, only what God had done, I would get frustrated at such self-depreciation--the individual had obviously put in the effort to make things happen. After a year in full-time ministry, I too have come to use that phrase more often than not. I am regularly astounded at things that have happened, doubting that I affected any of it, and believing fully that it was only by the grace of God that things have happened/changed as they have. I still get frustrated by the notion that it was ALL God. Not that God hasn't acted, obviously God has, but we have to work too, we have to put forth the effort, plan the programs, write the sermons, develop the worship services, have the counseling conversations--the 50-60 hour work-weeks are spent somehow, and those long hours contribute to the changes/progress that are/is made.

In the midst of all of that, it has been easy for me to lose my self assurance in ministry. I haven't lost sight of my call, if I had I would have left almost right after starting for all of the pain and drama that existed. I know God has called me to this work, but I have regularly wondered if I am truly capable of it. I think part of the problem is that I have gone to a lot of church growth/planting workshops over the last 13 months and am constantly challenged to be a very different kind of pastor. Door knocks and cold calls are NOT my thing. They tie my stomach in knots and make me want to hull up and never come out. I don't know that I can even articulate how unwanted/undesirable the notion of 300-500 conversations with total strangers trying to get them to church, let alone the recommended 3000-5000 annually, is for me. And because of my reluctance on that front, I see myself as failing in the ministry. I have yet to start a new small group or have my church bursting at the seams with people, nor does it look like that is on the horizon in the near future for us.

I guess, because of all of that, I had gotten pretty far away from notions of confidence and affirmation in ministry. Not that I stopped working, I continue to work wholy and fully so that we might progress as a church, but I stopped seeing myself as a "good pastor". Well, the last couple of weeks have, fortunately, brought me out of that. First was the week at summer camp, an intense week to say the least, but I got to be the fun and creative pastor I like to be. I got to play, to do interactive preaching, to be creative in planning worship, to shout, and dance, and let go in ministry--to "just do it" in a sense. It felt so liberating to be at camp as a pastor. When I first got there, I knew I was to be the dean, but I really had no notion of what that would entail, I only knew I wouldn't be a counselor, and that was a bit of a loss since I love that role so much. But after a week I began to see "Dean" as the logical progression for me now that I am a pastor--that was the logical role for me to have. Not that I won't ever be a counselor again, only that being Dean seemed to fit--the preaching, the teaching, the counseling--that's my pastor role and it fit. While the direct one-on-one interactions I had with campers were fewer and farther between, when they did happen, there seemed to be a profundity to those conversations that made them more worthwhile. I left camp physically exhausted, but recharged emotionally and spiritually, affirmed in being a "young" pastor (the youngest, actually, in my conference) and in the gifts I have as a young pastor.

My church desperately wants me to work with "the young people", seemingly because I am the only person, because of my age, who can do that work. I do not believe that logic, I don't think it's as much about age (something that was underscored as I watched my 80 year old member do an awesome job as a camp counselor all week) as it is about loving and respecting the youth. And despite my congregation's desires, I have rarely seen myself as someone who is REALLY good with youth. Sure, I can. I CAN do just about anything you set before me, but that's not the point. I doubt the "coolness" of my character and hence my ability to really win over and work with youth. But that limited notion of myself was challenged by that week of camp where I was free to do it "my way" rather than within the binds of an aged congregation and how they see and understand youth ministry.

My diminished pastoral identity was also challenged this weekend while we were camping. I know I have good youth and that generally they like me, but I had no idea how much until this weekend when they wanted my stamp of approval on just about everything they did. I needed, or rather they needed me, to watch their dives, time their competitions, praise them when they won...and not only did they crave my attention, but they also wanted my participation. They wanted me to swim, play, hike, jump, dive, whatever with them. On more than one occasion when I thought of staying at the campsite while they went somewhere with another adult I had kids refuse to go unless I did. Not in an ornery way, but in a I-want-Debbie-to-go way. Needless to say, it was good for my ego! We had so much fun. And fortunately for me in the competitions, my body is a foot to a foot and a half longer than most of theirs, so that made it easier for me to win the swimming races and diving competitions!!!! Yay for being a full-grown adult! LOL.

So, I guess the sum of all that rambling is that it has been an edifying summer for me as far as youth ministry is concerned. It gives me hope for the possibilities of our youth program in the coming year(s) and helps prove my point that it is not about how "cool" you are, but about loving and respecting the kids!

Must be a boy thing

This weekend I went with my youth group (and 2 parents) to the mountains for a camping trip. We two large campsites and had a game tent, a blue tent for girls, and a green tent for boys. Unassuming, the mom who set up had put me on an air mattress in the tent with the boys. When I arrived and they told me, apparently I gave a look of dread....uh...."sorry, no can do. Safe sanctuaries. (mom gives me the "oh no, I had no idea" look). It's okay. I can sleep outside." The immediately moved me into the girls' tent and all was well. Anyway, that's not the point of this post. Rather, it started when they told the boys I wouldn't be in their tent....."oh, that's good. She'd probably just fart a lot!" Ahhhh.....boys. Regularly throughout the weekend one of the boys would drop a stink bomb in their tent, clearing all out except for the offending party, clearly indicating who the offending stinker was! So then night two, they promptly started a farting contest. One after another with an ensuing "ohhhh grose!" I have never understood this farting has to be a boy thing. Really, it's totally beyond me.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ministry Check-up

I have been lamenting my recent silence in the blog-o-sphere, but being out of town at least every other week for the past month and a half has been less than condusive to regular blogging, not to mention the fact that I am exhausted, which generally puts me into survival mode--also not condusive to blogging. Anyway, today as I read my brother's blog and those he mentioned, I came across these check-up questions and figured they were worth the time and energy to answer....

In one article, Nancy Beach asks the following "Ministry Check-Up Questions":

1. How are you emotionally?
My first reaction is to say emotionally I am good. Relatively, I am doing well. No major downs and lots of things that are going well (successful cancer removal for my grandma, awesome week at summer camp, plans and vision for the future, vacation on the horizon!) But if I am really honest here, I am spent. I feel guilty for being away so much this summer, even though I have been away at conference/district things--annual conference, a two week course for hispanic ministries, a week of summer camp, youth camping trip this week...., I don't feel like "my people" see me as working when I am away, they just see me as absent. And now, at the end of the month, in just one more week, I am taking 9 days of vacation. Granted, I NEED the vacation and I am dying to see my goddaughter and her parents for her baptism and then my sister and her family--I want to go on vacation, but I don't want to leave again, not so soon. AND, if I am honest beyond that, it has been a really emotional month--lots of hospital visits, CPS/DFACS reports, abuse situations, Domestic Violence situations, death of church members, and loved ones with cancer. And I haven't had the chance to process all of those emotions, so I know that deep down somewhere all of that is going to bubble up--probably when I least expect and DO NOT need it to rear its ugly face! Can anyone say self care?

2. How are your key relationships?
Good. Check. This one I feel I can answer honestly as going well. I feel solid with those who are my core support system. But where I will admit I am not as strong as I would like is in making friends here in the desert. I talked with M from Atlanta today and she asked if I was making new, not so much. I have a clergy couple I do dinner and lectionary study with, a pastor I walk with, my neighbors from Bombay who are like a surrogate family, and one young adult couple I have dinner and play games with on occasion, but that's about it, and for me, that's not a whole lot of folks. And I definitely don't have ANY local, regular, everyday call-'em-up, 'let's-hang-out' friends...

3. Are you having fun?
Yeah....let's just say I'm at the same spot as I was the last time I wrote about this particular subject...

4. What's your attitude towards people?
I like people. I generally think the best of them. I expect good things from them. I like spending time with people. Recognizing we are all fallible/fallen/sinful/a work-in-progress, I am hopeful for the ways people can be transformed, can change, can progress. Yep. I like people, like working with them, like helping them, like challenging them.

5. Are you hearing God?
God's presence and actions have been very obvious to me over the last 3-4 months. I have been seeing the fruits of God's labor in clear and evident ways all around me--from miraculous healings, to changed hearts, to church growth, to an amazing church camp--God's presence has been more than apparent. I have been seeing God in clear ways. And, over the past few months, since mid-April really, I have had to use the process of discernment for a variety of decisions and for those, I have been hearing God. I hear God guiding me, directing me, urging me, warning me, I have heard God. Now, as a goal/hope, I wish to hear God in more creative ways--for preaching, praying, creating works of arts; and I know for that I need to offer more space in which God can speak and I am receptive/listening.

Quote of the Day

"Yep, you got it … I simultaneously put up walls!
I put up walls and barricades of my own, because at some deep level, it’s as if I don’t really trust God to protect me!
this is what I’m praying for today! A breakthrough!"


Having just tried the dating bit again for the first time in a year and a half and having it not take off the way I might have hoped this quote resonates deep within. As I prayed last night, I had to admit the wounds I still have from past relationships and the walls I have erected around myself so as to not be hurt again. I seem to have an almost unyielding MO (Modus Operandi) in dating relationships, and much of it deals with the walls I have built around my heart. It's strange really because more often than not I think of myself as open and vulnerable with people--that I give a lot of myself in all relationships, but I think despite the fact that I give of, I rarely give over---I entrust my being, my ser, with very few people...which leads to walls, or at the very least perceived walls. I guess one way of saying things would be to say that while I am not unapproachable, for many folks I seem to be "impenetrable".

On one level, I would say the wall is good--it protects, and yet, most walls are not discriminating--in other words, they protect against the bad AND the good. There is no method of evaluation for what passes and what doesn't, just a sign that reads loud and clear, "keep out!" Even though I can name all of these things and see the shortcomings, I am not fully ready to let go, to derrumbar my walls.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lost in translation....again

There are some things that just don't translate....there are many colloquial phrases that just don't translate across language boundaries....some don't even translate across dialects....people just look at you like you're crazy....of course, I am having trouble thinking of english examples right now, but you know they exist....if you can think of a couple, feel free to comment....
the two examples for today:

tu eres como una gatona = "you are like a big cat" (it's supposed to mean something along the lines of "you're hot", somehow it just doesn't hit home in english....

tus ojos de pescado muerto = your dead fish eyes (this one DEFINITELY does NOT is supposed to be like the big disney-like heroine eyes....)

Shout out to Sara B

So yesterday as I looked at the "guide" on my DVR, I saw for the TODAY show "Sara Bareilles performs". What?!?! I went to UCLA with Sara B and used to watch her perform near Ackerman Union. Now she's performing on public television on one of the most watched morning shows....crazy!!! Talk about making it! Way to go Sara!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Worth reading

As you know, immigration is an issue close to my heart. Today, in our Bishop's weekly letter, she shared this letter from Bishop Beverly Shamana of Northern California/Nevada.

e360 August 2, 2007 “Letter to the Governor”
from Bishop Swenson

Dear Friends in ministry,
I’ve just returned from this experience across the border into Mexico with my fellow bishops of the Western Jurisdiction. I want to tell you more soon, but for now, I’ll share this letter that Bishop Shamana crafted on our behalf. We will be asking the whole Council of Bishops to join us in giving attention to this matter, and I ask for yours today. Your sister and bishop in Christ, Mary Ann

To the Honorable Governor of the State of Arizona, Janet NapolitanoDear Governor Napolitano,
We the bishops of The United Methodist Church who have the privilege of serving in the Western region of the U.S. have just completed a week long immersion and study experience along the southern border of the state of Arizona. We also had the opportunity to travel into Mexico. The concern that brought us to Arizona and Mexico is the immigration situation.
While in your area we have seen the work of Humane Borders, the Samaritans, and No More Deaths. We have walked in the desert and seen water stations that serve immigrants as well as those vast areas where there is no water available to those who make the treacherous journey through the Arizona desert. We have been in conversation and prayer with immigrants; those who have crossed the border and been detained and repatriated to Mexico, and those who await the journey to the U.S. in places like Altar in Sonora, Mexico. We have also been in conversation with church leaders in Arizona and in Mexico. We were deeply saddened by the great suffering of immigrants who are entering the U.S. along our southern border, and the suffering that their journey must cause their families who remain in Mexico or who await them in the U.S.
We leave the state of Arizona on this day praying not only for the immigrants, but for you. We pray that God will give you great wisdom, and we pray that God will lift you up as a courageous moral voice on this issue. Nothing less than just comprehensive immigration reform will help us on the issue of immigration. We believe you have the ability to lead not only this state, but also this country in such reform. We pray that you will have the political will to step forth and lead us well in this critical time.
Two immediate concerns that we would place before you are that you consider granting Humane Borders permission to place water stations in identified areas that fall within state land trusts. This would have the potential of saving many lives from unnecessary death in the desert. Secondly, we would ask that you intervene in the Border Patrol's practice of repatriating women and children during the night hours. During our visit we have come to learn that the Border Patrol repatriates women and children during the night placing them in danger of assault and sexual violation.
We stand ready to further share with you our experience of this week and our ongoing experiences as we serve in our distinct areas. Enclosed please find documents related to immigration that reflect the ongoing work of The United Methodist Church on this critical matter.