Unexpected Gifts

by | Aug 30, 2021

A Reflection by Stated Clerk for Administration, Rev. Ally Lee

The last days of August are upon us. Schools have begun. We are watching the shifts in weather nervous about local fires and praying for our neighbors affected by ongoing fire and smoke. Hurricane season is in full force on the eastern coast of the Americas. All of these serve as markers of fall. A time for new church programs, education classes, maybe even a beloved yearly gathering. And yet, we are still engaged in this COVID dance. Some regular programs will have to wait another year. Some gatherings will go forward but might look different.

I think we are all tired, and perhaps if you are like me there are moments of excitement. Learnings that come as surprises and change our minds about a long-held belief. Or a shift comes that changes the conversation creating room for dialogue, openness, and forgiveness. These moments fuel creativity and hope. I find that I am more aware of these moments because I need a little extra fuel to keep up with the COVID dance.

This week, I have been grateful for the collection of these moments that have enabled me to get to know the Presbytery more deeply in my first year and a half than I believe I would have under other circumstances. After two months on the job, I was thrown into mid-council work in a pandemic. I found that many of you were willing to offer help and support, and even more of you reached out for encouragement as well. The gifts of encouragement, experience, and wisdom from all corners of our Presbytery have inspired me. I do not know if I would have had so many opportunities to build these relationships across the Presbytery if it wasn’t for Zoom. I am inspired to be on the look out for more unexpected gifts as our COVID dance changes.

And one of the changes that is coming up is our first hybrid Presbytery meeting. It will take place at 9:00 am on Saturday, September 18. You can join the meeting in-person at San Marino Community Church (1750 Virginia Road, San Marino) or on Zoom.

For those joining on Zoom, find a comfortable place to sit in your home or office (wherever your internet is strongest), and sign in by 8:40 am. We will go through the details of how the Zoom meeting will work in hybrid form at 8:50 am. These details will also be sent out in the Presbytery packet on September 10.

For those joining in-person, we will meet in the Fellowship Hall of San Marino Community Church where their contemporary service takes place. A registration table will be set-up in the courtyard. Doors will open at 8:30 am for registration. Please wear a mask and do not attend the in- person gathering if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have any symptoms.

We will not be serving food or drinks at this meeting. We ask that you enjoy your morning coffee or tea in the courtyard before coming inside for the meeting.

We will have seats set-up in small groups for our breakout times. You will not have to move around to be in a group. The online meeting participants will be shown on screens up front along with the meeting PowerPoint. Please bring a copy of the packet on your device to reference during the meeting if you would like the additional detail that will not be on the PowerPoint. We will go over the details of how we will hear from both groups before the meeting begins.

I am so grateful for the support of SMCC and several in our Presbytery commissions and committees who are helping to sort out the technology and logistics. And I can guarantee there will be hiccups and failures and new learnings. What a gift to share this experience with all of you. We are learning and growing together. May the Spirit more to inspire and shape us in the face of challenge and discomfort. I hope that you will join us for this opportunity.

One way that you can contribute to the work of the meeting is to register for the meeting as soon as possible. In fact why not click this link today and take care of it. The registration form asks if you will attend in-person or on Zoom. As you can imagine, it matters for the design on the meeting if more folks will be in-person or online. If something changes and you need to change your registration, contact me at ally@sangabpres.org before September 16, so I can adjust. In the MMU the week before the meeting, I will post a contact number for the day of the Presbytery meeting.

I am excited for the Sept. 18th meeting and hope to see you there.

Grace and peace,