Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Pastors, Two Ministries, One Church And An Experience Of Awe

I want to tell you – whoever you are -- my stories about an exceptional congregation of people. Congregants who were – almost to the person – willing to transform any – and all -- of their own personal darkness into Light in the service of a mission I headed, the “Saving Centennial” mission.

I want to share my collection of stories about this congregation of people who were so willing to be fully accountable – in every personal and collective action -- that they saved their church from closing.

I want to talk about the systemic change that occurred within that church. I want to talk about organizational dysfunction set aright.

I want to talk about congregants whose love for their church and their pastor, their faith in prayer and their willingness to surrender to Divine Guidance is allowing them to continue to build a ministry to profoundly aid the disenfranchised.

The local newspaper can tell you that this church went from “Little Left To Give” (Frederick News Post, June 27, 2009) -- on the brink of being closed down – to a renewal that allowed them – in a period of nine or ten months to achieve their essential fundraising objectives (Frederick News Post, April 3, 2010).

However, the words of a reporter cannot do justice to the “awe.” Awe is just not the language of daily news, even in a smallish community such as the locale of Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church (Frederick, Maryland).

But how does one convey the wonder that might be found in "seeing” beyond the ordinary?

The words that make ideas, concepts and experiences easily understood do not come easily to me.

And, “awe,” even defined is not an adequate explanation.

Lisa, my loyal and generous board member who has designed this blog (and the other) and helps me continue to develop it – with beauty – tells me (as have others) that I write like an esoteric, graduate school professor. They say I need to write in the language of a #101 class.

I think I used to be able to do that. But it was a long time ago. Before I was blind; the state in which I first found the natural highs of “awe.” So am I, now, more limited in the mainstream world? Perhaps that is the case.

So how can I, now, tell you about my experience of "awe" in working with the congregation of Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church and its esteemed leader, Pastor George Earle, Jr.? And, convey the fundamentals of “how” with Pastor George’s guidance, my willingness to lead for a time and an exceptional congregation of people – we reached the peak of the Mountain of Awe – for awhile?

A few of the clues as to “how” what was accomplished came about are: personal accountability, prayer, synergy ( a high step above cooperation) – and – the almost lost art of Conversation which we all did almost non-stop for a time, even those who usually love to text!

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