January Pastor’s Corner

Beloved Community,

A new year has begun, and I am ready to celebrate its unfolding! 2020 was a year of challenges on a global level – a year of resourcefulness and vigilance and constant check-ins for our community. And as strange, fluid, precarious and unexpected as it was, David and I personally crowned the year with a life-changing
experience. As most all of you know by now, on Sunday evening, Dec. 13, we were involved in a serious car accident near Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis. We are grateful to have survived the collision – which completely destroyed our car – and to have had exceptional care, both personal and professional, in every way from that moment on.

David walked away from the scene with minor injuries that have nearly healed. I, on the other hand, was hospitalized immediately, with reconstructive and hip replacement surgery the following day, as well as sustaining a myriad of minor injuries. My care was at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), an extraordinary facility. I was fortunate enough to bypass a rehabilitative facility and to be released from the hospital to go directly home on the Friday afternoon following my admittance!

I have been working hard to be obedient to all medical guidance and am making progress and getting stronger every day. I have said countless times that I feel as if I have been floating in a boat of prayers and that God is at work in me: “God knit me together in my mother’s womb…” and I can hear the knitting needles, busy within me once again. Our heartfelt thanks for the equipment, information, thoughts, prayers, greetings, soups, baked goods, leopard prints and more that have supported and are supporting us every moment. We are profoundly grateful to all of you for the community you provide us.

I will be on partial medical leave for January and February. I’ll be using my work time each week to plan and prepare worship. Ann DeGroot, Cathy Velasquez Eberhart and Steve Ozanne are working with David and me to craft an interim management plan for the next two months. This will assure that administrative tasks are fulfilled, direction is provided to staff and committee heads, and visioning continues to move forward, while I need to be most focused on my recovery.

Friends, I left the hospital on the day that the first vaccinations for COVID 19 were being given to staff at HCMC. As Andrew, my wheelchair driver, rolled me to the pick-up spot where David waited with the car, we passed the long line of all sorts of people waiting for their first injection of the vaccine. It was a beautiful thing! It will be a wonderful task – just a bit ahead of us – to figure out how and when we can safely come together in person as a vaccinated community.

Next Sunday in worship we will hear a message from the new interim Bishop of the MN Conference, Rev. David Bard. He will speak to us of the future, and his hopes for the months ahead. The next couple of months will be rich with a variety of speakers during worship, while we continue to offer our spiritual centering, our “base camp,” week by week, as we continue the journey. Remember when we sang together: “We are going, heaven knows where we are going, but we know within. And we will get there – heaven knows how we will get there – but we know we will. Woyaya. Woyaya.” We have a good/God compass. We have each other. And on we go.

In 2021 we remember:

Resilience, trust and creativity, kindness and support, hard work and community effort, our gratitude for the dedication of so many workers – particularly medical responders who face risk each day (like Kelley Jewett, Sharon Kimble and Barb Beach from our own congregation), our dedication to being allies, helpers, and partners on the path to justice, and the Christ story of service and sacrifice, forgiveness and resurrection that we live by, through God’s good grace.

We look forward to good days, shared smiles, bright visions and more of the above! And, eventually, when the time comes, HUGS!!!

We choose happiness. We choose hope, and trust, and love.

Wild blessings – and be careful out there,
Pastor Chris