by Katharyn Wheeler
Wonder why Tuesday mornings are such difficult times to get in contact with the synod staff? We’ve walked away from our desks and phones and headed to the conference room to connect in person on all the synod on-goings.
Our time begins with “Wellness of the Synod.” Are there illnesses or hardships we should be praying for? Births to celebrate? Issues weighing on your shoulders that need particular care? Some items may be for public prayer, and others may be for quiet prayer and keeping watch over.
We then move into “Honors/Congregation Markers.” This is a time to highlight milestones of our congregations and rostered leaders. We lift up your celebrations and include them in our prayer time.
Devotionals are next, and the aspect I look forward to the most each week. Now is the time laptops get closed and our minds and hearts truly open. We have frank discussions about whichever text we are reading, and we find ways to link insights to our work and the greater Christian community. In the (almost) year I have been in the office, we have used three very different resources for this time: We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation by Brian D. McLaren; Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity by Adam Hamilton; and The Spirituality of Fund-raising (free downloadable pamphlet) by Henri J.M Nouwen.
Time in prayer follows on the agenda, lifting shared concerns and commemorations, wellness and honors.
Then the meeting aspect of our time begins. We discuss calendar items, mobility, candidacy, calls and whatever other business each of us brings to the table. This is our time to work through things together with all our gifts available for discernment at once.
Unlike most meetings I have been part of, everyone doesn’t rush off back to their respective desks when business closes. One or two people might continue to work at the table, and discussions may be ongoing. While the meeting closes, the work does not – nor does the Spirit that has begun work with us as a team.
So how does this matter to you?
- First, most practically, understand that you most likely won’t reach us on a Tuesday morning if you try to call.
- Second, contribute any wellness, honors and congregation markers to me to share with the staff. Include in that information whether you want items to be added to our publically shared forums or just within the staff.
- Third, know that we are engaged in a community of spiritual development just as you are, and we nurture this intentionally before the business of the synod is attended to so that the work we do is continuously infused with the Spirit.
- And finally, lift us up, as we lift you up, in prayer.
May the agenda of the synod engaged by staff and each and every one of the 30,000 people that make up the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod be always in the glory of our Lord.