Summertime up North is precious, and to be savored. These brief months allow those with limited mobility or health issues to get out and about more easily, and open a wide array of outdoor activities for all from sports (go, Turkeys softball!!) to fishing to grilling out. I especially appreciate those who tend flowers for sharing the beauty of their gardens; it makes dog-walking that much more enjoyable. Our worship themes this summer have included awareness of our embodiment, the sacred power of dance, and the need for Sabbath rest, all reflective of this season.
For those who are able to take weekends away during the summer months, Pilgrim is experimenting with a Thursday evening service for six weeks. Remembering that Jesus-followers center their identity in Christ, we encourage you to continue to make worship and faith-fellowship a priority with this alternative. It is a more intimate service as worshipers gather in a circle in the chapel, share in the readings, and offer communion to one another. These services continue through the end of July.
Behind the scenes, much else continues to percolate. A new staff position of Children and Families Ministry Coordinator has been posted (see position here); we hope to fill the position by the time the program year begins. At the same time, Christian Education has adopted a new design for children’s faith formation, to launch this fall, and is working out the details. Planning has also begun for the transformation into Hogwarts Castle once again this October. And even as we continue bask in the fabulous kids’ production of “The Rockslinger and His Greatest Hit” in June (see the display in Salter Hall, including Goliath’s head!), “Ms. Rachael” has begun work on the upcoming year’s musical program.
Finally, though summer is a lighter season, Pilgrim has engaged in the work of justice and service. Pies were baked for the CHUM Rhubarb Festival; a team prepares lunch each month at Damiano’s even in the summertime; six participants served and learned in Guatemala on a trip with Common Hope; and the depth of racism, and a call to engage in a new way, was begun with our worship service on Independence Day weekend. Common Hope participants will share their experiences in worship on July 23 (Thursday) and 26 (Sunday). And follow-up on anti-racism efforts include promotion of the book Dear White Christians, by Dr. Jennifer Harvey, with discussion planned for the fall, and a Wednesday evening vigil for Emmanuel AME in upcoming months, joining in a yearlong series of vigils across the state through the Minnesota Council of Churches. Plans are also underway for Pilgrim participation in Duluth’s Pride events in September.
Spiritual wisdom teaches us how to respond to gifts. First, we receive them with open hands and hearts. Savor the summertime, the opportunities to renew. Second, we offer up deep gratitude. Nothing is so core to living with joy and purpose than the power of gratitude. And third, we offer back what we have received. Those whom Jesus healed found their mission in telling others about Christ. As you receive deeply the gifts of this season, let your thankfulness rise up as prayer, and listen for your mission, how you are called to share what you have received.