Last fall, a group of clergy colleagues and I applied for a grant through Austin Presbyterian Seminary. Santa came early and we received a grant of 10,000 bones...to be used over the next two years. Who is this lucky cohort that I go covorting with? Kara Root (Lake Nokomis Presbyterian), Phil GebbenGreen (Edgecombe Presbyterian), Jamie Schultz (Bryn Mawr Presbyterian), Travis Gerjets (Faith Lutheran) and Marc Ostlie-Olson (St Anthony Park Lutheran). Yes, lucky me.
The fourth Wed/Thurs of each month, this group stops, unplugs (mostly...this is a growing edge), and travels an hour north to a retreat center for twenty-four hours.* We eat, talk, sit in silence, discuss, walk, sleep, pray.
We have an evolving booklist. Our over-arching theme is: What does it mean to belong? What does is mean to belong to God, one another and a church? What does membership (in church) even mean anymore?
Our booklist so far include: The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris Theological Worlds by W. Paul Jones Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
With two retreats under our belts, I am entirely grateful that we are only at the beginning of this trip together.
*In addition to funding these books/retreats, our whole group gets to travel to Austin, Texas this coming October for additional study. Austin just happens to be one of my very favorite cities. They know how to keep things weird.