Here it is. My last epistle for the next four months. Do keep in mind that Chris will be picking up my reflections in my blog and offering them to you as the epistle reflection as they are available, but this is the last time I will be specifically writing for the epistle for the next four months.
Last week we talked about the plans for the month of July, so now we pick up with the month of August.
THE MONTH OF AUGUST: In the month of August, Covenant’s storytelling theme will be school days. The guiding scriptures will come from across scripture and will have to do with learning, teaching, and mentoring. On the first Sunday we will be blessed to have the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Pittsburgh Seminary (one of our PC(USA) seminaries) Christine Chakoian. Christine also happens to be the mother of Anna Sohn, one of our elders on session in charge of learning. Anna will be sharing her story the following Sunday, along with Helen Rancher. Jeff Jolly and Peter Snow will be sharing stories on the third Sunday in August, and we will wrap things up with stories from our mission partners at Sombra Del Monte and Menaul School. Finally, I will be back with you on September 2nd, but I will not be preaching my first Sunday back. Instead, we will have the pleasure of hearing from Shannon Webster. Many of you know of Shannon from his days as the Exec for Sierra Blanca, or his time as a pastor at New Life Presbyterian. Most recently, Shannon has been the pastor of one of our historic civil rights churches, First Presbyterian Church Birmingham, Alabama. Shannon is recently retired, but is excited to come and talk with us as we begin our new chapter after the sabbatical.
While all of that is happening at Covenant, I will be heading off with my kiddos for some time camping around the Southwest. We will spend time learning more about the story of the Southwest with visits to Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde (where my aunt is an archaeologist). We will spend time hiking and enjoying the outdoors. Perhaps most importantly, we will spend time around the campfire telling stories together. There are few things I find more rejuvenating than time outdoors, and this will be some wonderful time. After the kids start back up at school, I will be spending some time in retreat at Casa Del Sol at Ghost Ranch to reflect on my sabbatical experience and to begin the process of preparing to return to my full duties at Covenant.
Over the last several weeks you have begun to see what is in store for all of us this summer. I hope that you are as excited about this time as I am, and that you are prepared to learn the story of your Covenant Kin in greater depth. I, of course, want to offer my deep gratitude for the many people who are stepping up to make all of this happen. As I was preparing things for this Sunday, I counted around 40 people who are telling stories, stepping up in leadership, taking on specific projects, filling in on certain fronts and serving the community in my absence. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for all of these people!
This Sunday will be my last for the next four months, and we have some really special things in store to kick off our summer storytelling together. We will be commissioning our Storytelling Team, and we will be doing a few other fun things as well. I hope you will join your Covenant Kin in Beginning the Journey of Storytelling this Sunday!