We are aÂ mission start that gathers for worship in a storefront. In some ways, this is totally normal. In others--it's pretty far out there. Lest we think we have it together (really, HW, are any of you claiming this?), last night proved a wonderful learning opportunity. A group of twenty mission developers from around the US joined us for worship and dinner. They were in town for training provided by the ELCA. (I did the same training. Twice. But that's another story). I knew they were coming--enforce. I anticipated. Prepared.
HW rose to the occasion. Hospitality abounded. Rachel musicÂ led with grace and joy. We welcomed them during announcements--I made a few jokes about havingÂ a room full of pastors.
It wasn't until well after the service that I understood our blunders. Well, mine, actually. I'll own them.
Blunder #1:Â There were a large number of individual visitors--8 that I can recall--that were in no way connected to the mission developer group. With the exception of the visitors who are also my house guests, I assumed that everyone else was part of the same group. Sheesh. Even without our lovely group of developers, we had a huge number of first time HW folks. It would have been a full house with or without that group. I didn't even think about a word of welcome to those people.
Blunder #2:Â The flippant way I talked about mission developers and training left some of our HW community behind...people who haven't lived with this Lutheran world forever....people for whom the process and education that pastors participate in is completely foreign.
So,Â we learn and thinkÂ aÂ bit more broadly next time. We meaning "I."
On the amazing end of things, ohhhh, whatÂ great thingsÂ you all articulate about our community. In quiet conversations at the table, in small momentsÂ during sharing of the peace, inÂ more public ways in the largerÂ crowd. Man, you are all a community that I feel honored to serve.