Walking

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The preparation for this year’s Camino and Sabbatical has been layered. I’ve  needed to line up speakers for preaching and pastoral care.  I’ve needed to collect supplies — my boots, backpack, clothing needed for this hike.  I’ve needed to plan the stages I will be hiking — still in process.  I’ve needed to do training walks — like the picture above with a cool group of folk from church last fall.  And I’ve needed to talk with a team of people from the congregation about what kinds of events we want to plan both to do before I leave and for while I am gone.

Really I ought to have known that leaving town for three months would be just as strenuous as it is to leave for a week just multiplied by 12.  But I didn’t.  I imagined that somehow this preparation would not take hours of meetings and months of work!  I’ve met multiple times with Susan Brehmer, our Lay Leader, to sort out what, when, where and how.  She’s been a Godsend, gifted with the perfect spiritual gifts for this kind of work.  We’ve mapped timelines, set goals and achieved them!

One goal was to line up the speakers and find the interim pastor.  George Fox Seminary was a huge help in both these, with some of their professors willingly signing up to preach, and Dr Laura Simmons at George Fox helped us find one of their students to become our interim pastor, Bonnie Vance.  After three months of work, all speakers were lined up.

When Debbie Gabel our chair of church Council met Bonnie she just said, “Wow!”  Yes, we have hit the jackpot.

One thing Susan and I agreed upon was that the work before I leave was even more important than what happens while I am gone. By then everything needs to be running smoothly.  There’s lots more to be accomplished, but I feel like we have already taken major steps.

Sunday, January 31st, in worship, Bonnie Vance was with us and shared a bit about herself and we showed slides and listed everyone who will be speaking while I am gone in the fall.   Here is the list:

 

8/14-21 Rev. Bill Mullette-Bauer

8/28 Calvin Miller

9/4 Rev Bonnie Vance

9/11 Dr Laura Simmons

9/18 Dr Leah Payne

9/25 Mr Lucas Howard

10/2 Rev Erin Martin, DS

10/9  Dr Nijay Gupta

10/16 Dr Churck Conniry

10/23 and 30 : Mr Paul Watson, local missionary

11/6  Dr Laura Simmons

If you have not yet met Bonnie Vance, she will be joining us on future Sundays so that she has a chance to meet more of those in the congregation.

I’m thankful for the privilege of this journey year.

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
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