This past weekend the Northern California Nevada Conference hosted two boundary training sessions. The first, on Friday, was for Authorized Ministers. The second, on Saturday, was for lay leaders and Conference Council members.
Both trainings included rich sharing and conversation—deep conversations about issues that all of us are experiencing in our congregations.
COVID was very much present in both trainings because the truth is that as COVID shifts to a new phase, the challenges of COVID’s aftermath as it is affecting individuals and faith communities is more and more apparent. And, it’s hard. For everyone.
A significant amount of time both days was spent looking at self-care and community-care, which included such topics as how we care for ourselves and also how we care for each other; how we talk to one another; and how we maintain boundaries when we are feeling vulnerable and threatened and just plain exhausted.
As I stood witness to the deep conversations happening in those rooms, I reflected once again on the privilege it is to be able to facilitate such important gatherings. It was echoed in the room when one of the Authorized Ministers admitted to feelings of resentment about having to give up a day for Boundary Training but then, as we went through the training, her feelings turned to gratitude for the conversation and reflection in the room with her peers.
During our Lay Boundary Training, I was asked by one leader why we hadn’t been doing this for years because she could’ve really used it a few years earlier. I agreed and told her that we have been told for years that our lay leaders wanted this and our local church pastors wanted their lay leaders to have the benefit of such a training. I added that, in fact, we had scheduled it in 2020 but because of COVID we had to canceled it.
Even being a Conference Minister who is insistent on how sacred and valuable these trainings are, I, too, admit to feelings about an all-day training that takes me away from other priorities. And, every time I start to feel that way, I step into the room and experience the kind of good energy that I felt in those rooms on Friday and Saturday and I rejoice. I am reminded that there is no better priority then making time for myself and my growth.
I rejoice in the ways we were able to come together to offer support and to be supported; to offer reflection and to reflect; to be listened to and to listen. In the wake of COVID where gathering together in the same room was not possible for so long, I am also grateful for these chances to be physically present with one another—something I didn’t even realize I was craving.
Yes, last weekend was a sacred weekend for me in my ministry with all of you and for that I am grateful!