Wednesday, May 19, 2010

practice what we preach

I've spent the last few days on the road and it's been truly inspiring. At this moment I'm on retreat in Connecticut with a group of Gen X clergy from across America -- lots of praying and dancing to the B-52s and Tone Loc :) But earlier, over the weekend, a team of us from The Crossing community led a workshop on radical welcome and an emerging church experience for the Episcopal Diocese of Newark (just across the river from NYC). One of the participants, Rev. Shane Phelan of Haworth, NJ, wrote the blog post below when she got home. I thought I'd share it with our community -- not so we can pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, but so we can ask, "Are we practicing what so many of us preach?" May God give us the strength, love and vision to do just that:

From "God-talk", Shane Phelan's blog:
[Soon (Sunday) we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit who makes all things new.] So it was appropriate that this weekend seven of us from St. Luke’s went to a workshop on radical welcome and the emerging church. This was a challenging workshop for many, if not all, of us there. We were asked to look at our congregations and analyze the centers of power and exclusion. We were asked to name what we never name. ... We tried to talk honestly, one-on-one, about our fears of exclusion and about times we’ve been welcomed. And the next day we worshipped together, using the Cathedral space in a way it likely had never been used before.

Then we went home. Back to the way it’s always been, the way it must be. The scales did not suddenly fall from our eyes. But we got a taste of another way. We got a first peek out from under the curtain that shrouds our vision.

We all want to be inviting. We want other people to come and share what we love. But radical welcome is about loving others enough to want them to come and bring something new, even at the risk of challenging or losing what we love. Radical welcome is about loving Jesus more than we love our ways of doing church. It’s about being willing to bear the burden of insecurity for the sake of community. It’s about seeking the kindom of God rather than the comfort of familiarity.

Jesus prays that we all may be one. It sounds good. But it’s hard. How much do you want it? Do you want to be one if it means you have to change? I do want it, but it scares me too. I don’t know what I’m not willing to give up until I’m actually at the point of loss. Then I have two choices: I can kick you in the shins, or I can pray. Help me, Jesus. Help me to love past the fear. I want to love that much, Jesus. Help. Send your Spirit to enlighten, encourage, and in-spire us. Amen.

May the Holy Spirit come and breathe upon and in us all, just like that.

this week @ the crossing
THURSDAYS @ 6pm // Worship
Adwoa Lewis Wilson opens the way to Pentecost, which comes this Sunday. The spiritual practice is led by Natalie Finstad, who will get us back into our bodies and closer to God.
  • BEFORE WORSHIP: Come at 4:45pm to help with worship set-up or 5:30pm to join the prayer circle
  • AFTER WORSHIP: Join us for cheap food and fun at Fajitas n Ritas.
  • BY SUBWAY: 138 Tremont St -- across from Park St T stop (Red or Green Line); near Downtown Crossing T (Orange)
  • PARKING: Boston Common Garage, Charles Street between Boston Common and Public Garden
  • FOR MORE INFO: Head to our website --
We gather to pray at worship, but the prayers for our community and our world need to keep running throughout the week, throughout every moment. Feel free to write prayers for yourself or others and place them in the bowl on any Thursday (put a star if you'd like to share it). Here are some prayers I'm carrying -- I hope you'll make time for them, as well:
  • Please pray for our leadership as we launch a search for a new Minister for Community Life, to begin in mid-August. And tell somebody if you think they're amazing and should apply!
  • Please give thanks for all the folks who are graduating or just graduated, and for all who are moving soon (we send you with blessing!).
  • Pray for Kieran Conroy, who will be received into the Anglican Communion this Saturday at a 10am service at The Cathedral.
  • Pray for Tyler Bridge, who is in Discernment for Holy Orders at The Crossing; and for his entire awesome Discernment Committee; and for everyone discerning big life decisions at this time of transitions.
  • Please give thanks for Julia Wilkinson's extraordinary ministry with us this year as a Field Education Intern, and for the arrival of our summer intern, Jack Jenkins.
If you or someone you know needs a field education or social service internship for the 2010-2011 academic year, please CONTACT Rev. Steph at or 617.482.4826, x318. We love hosting interns and are building this fall's team now!

justice & service @ the crossing
As a part of the city-wide Hope in Action campaign -- shepherded by our partners in the Life Together young adult intern program in the Diocese of Massachusetts -- many of us have made a
1% commitment to action that makes a difference. CONTACT our Hope in Action Strategy Leader Natalie Finstad at for lots more info. Here's the most recent news:
  • The State Legislature has another month to consider the stalled bill that would add sexual expression to the state's non-discrimination clause, at last granting transgender people protection from discrimination in housing, jobs, public accommodations and so much more. Please consider writing a letter, calling a legislator and/or praying. Go to for info.

community life @ the crossing
SPEAKING OF FAITH SMALL GROUPS @ THE CROSSING // Saturdays @ 4-6pm at 40 Prescott St. in Brookline, until end of May
Speaking of Faith is one of the most popular programs on public radio, and one of the most engaging religious conversations going on today. Partnering with the Episcopal Church, they’ve created a new curriculum for small groups that combines audio clips, small group formation and fascinating questions on life and faith today. The Crossing will serve as one of only a few pilot sites nationwide, and all are welcome to join.
  • TOPIC: 5 sessions on “Einstein’s God: Science and Faith.”
  • CONTACT Jason at or 617.519.1538.
  • LOCATION: 40 Prescott St. home of the BU chaplaincy and the Life Together intern program (easily accessible via Green Line: C to St. Mary's or B to BU Central, then walk 5 min.)
  • OPEN GROUP -- come any Saturday!
A host of summer offerings are being planned by a crew headed by our current Minister for Community Life, Jason Long, at If you've got ideas, contact him soon.

general crossing community info
InBetweenCrossings: Log on and view or share all kinds of random community notices: furniture, apartment sublets, concerts, lost and found, play dates. If you want to share it with our community, start here.

Giving @ The Crossing: follow the link to learn about sharing your money or your prayers with The Crossing -- it's a spiritual practice that we're grateful to invite people into. We raise a huge chunk of the money for this ministry among our own members (the rest comes from grants we apply for and from generous support from our Cathedral and Bishops). To make an ongoing pledge, fill out a card at worship or CONTACT Chris at

Justice and Service @ The Crossing: Follow the link for info on particular volunteer opportunities and organizations that are close to our community's heart.

Meet Our Crew: The Crossing is led by a team of amazing, creative and faithful young adults. Follow the link to meet them and see who you might contact to more deeply engage our community.

Praise God!

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