Thank you, and a Request

I'm writing this as I come back to work, after about eight weeks off for parental leave. I want to share some thank you's: Thank you to everyone who prayed for me and Rachael and for Ezekiel (and for poor underappreciated Rutabaga the cat), thank you for all the kind gifts, thank you to my colleagues who had to work extra hard while I was out of the office, thank you to Tessa Nearing for coordinating our youth program while I was on leave, and of course, thank you to everyone who supports the church financially so that I could have the time away from work to just be present to Zeke in the early days of his life. It's sad to leave him behind when I go back to work, but he'll be around church a fair bit in the coming months, so feel free to stop by if you'd like to meet him. He's pretty great.

I am super grateful for the time away, and I am super grateful to be returning to such a wonderful ministry that I share with all of you. Thank you for being with me and my family in this.

And a request:
We are continuing full speed ahead with constructing The Ground Floor. We are all so excited for the program to open, we are all excited for the fruition of this dream that some of us have been dreaming up for decades and all of us have been treasuring for months and years. We are grateful for the call, we are anxious about the outcomes. So, in the midst of this busy season, in the midst of this celebration, in the midst of this brave thing that we are stepping out into: I want to invite you to get curious.

In the first months and years of The Ground Floor operating at First Congregational Church, there will be a moment, or many moments, that surprise you. Or confuse you. Or, frankly, there will be a moment or two that alarms you. Maybe you'll see a staff member or a youth doing something you don't understand. Maybe someone will say something that offends you or wounds you. Maybe a neighbor or a friend will say something about our youth that rings as unkind or ignorant or racist or transphobic. And in all honesty, it's probably not a matter of IF these moments will happen, for most of us, but rather WHEN these moments happen.

So, when these moments of conflict, of difficulty, of hurt and confusion happen, I want to invite you to get curious. "I wonder why that thing happened." "Hey neighbor, when you said ___, what did you mean by that?" "I think I saw this, could you explain what I might have been seeing and how I might respond next time?"
Get curious, and then talk to me, or the Northwest Youth Services leaders, or our moderators about your curiosity. It'll be a hard and beautiful road, and things happen that could trip us up, I hope we will get curious together. And then work together to find some answers, and then get curious again, and find new answers, and all the while staying in relationship with each other and the divine.

May the God of Curiosity continue to lead us.