Bing tracking

“You are Invited”

Facilitator Reflection

Written by Brenna Zeimet

A collage of photos from the learning event. Kristina speaking to the group at the podium, Pastor Marty smiling at the camera, post-it work from a team, and the Roseville team gathered at their table. As I reflect on this event, I am awash with a sense of expectant hope. As I wandered the tables and listened to conversations and sat one to one talking with folks, I was struck by how much has changed in such a short time. 

The conversations have changed from questioning what we’re doing here and what this is all about, to finding deep connection with the neighbor’s story and searching for a place in the narrative of the community. Where do we fit? What should we be paying attention to? Who do we need to be to meet our neighbor where they are today? It was no longer a skeptical questioning of this process or a planning session for new programs, this community has begun to fall in love with the people around them and that love is driving change in our worldview and our identity as the Church. We are changing as we adapt to the heartbeat of God for people.

I am excited about what this season of Interpretation will bring as we dig deep into the beliefs and assumptions that drive our actions. We will examine how our worldview brings hope and where it causes harm or puts up barriers to authentic and vulnerable relationship. These teams are ready to engage this intense and transformative work, and the health that will flow from this time will bring change to our churches and our neighborhoods.

At our last learning event Kristina Fruge shared a letter with our RIH community to open our space both online and in person. It was written with inspiration from her friend Lauren out in Spokane, WA. It was a beautiful way to open and close our event and there are invitations she names that are good reminders on how we can create places of belonging for all our neighbors. We share it with you in hopes that it will continue to nourish your soul as you embark on this work of being neighbor in the world in the midst of all the feelings of being human. 

Dear neighbor,

This letter is your invitation. You may have already RSVPed to show up today, but this letter and these words are your invitation to be present and to participate in this gathering – to give what you have to offer and likewise to receive the gifts of others in this community. 

You are invited today, neighbor, to show up with all of you. No need to leave anything at the door today.  Our time together will include exploring the artform of interpretation. This means we will take time to wonder about the realities that shape our understanding of the world around us. This means your experiences, your stories, the places you are from, the people who have shaped you, and the realities and relationships that are currently demanding your attention, truly matter. 

Kristina at the podium smiling looking out into the crowd. The screen down with a question of how is people's energy level that day.Are you bringing sadness with you today? You are invited. 

Are you bringing joy with you today? You are invited.

Are you bringing worry about the uncertainties of the future – of your own, your congregation’s, your community’s, this planet’s? You are invited. 

Are you bringing exhaustion or fatigue with you today? You are invited. 

Are you bringing compassion and hope with you today? You are invited. And if that’s you, don’t be shy to share a little with those of us who are running on low…

Are you bringing grief with you today? If so, you are invited. And may you be reminded that God’s presence is ever more close to you right now. So keep an eye out.

Each and everyone of you is invited to keep your eyes and ears and hearts open, expectantly on the look out for God’s activity among us. You are invited, just as you are invited to pay attention to all the parts of you that shape the lens you use to engage and understand the world. 

Thank you for saying yes to this invitation when it likely meant saying “no” to others. Welcome! Welcome to this time of sharing, of learning, of connecting. Welcome to this time of community. Your presence and participation today is what makes this community possible. And community makes all things possible. Yours truly, Kristina