Muggy. We were meeting in an Episcopal church along the river in a deeply wooded neighborhood of North Jacksonville. Good hiking trails to the river we were told at lunch time. No thanks. Too hot! On the deck outside our meeting room a family of raccoons hiked by. Not too hot and humid for them. We got a sandwich and continued talking. Our vision team was retreating, considering the insights from the book, Slow Church. Our church is slow enough I thought. We are out of the mainstream current for sure. So slow I wondered some times if were moving at all. What about finances? What about sustainability? We were a small, slow church. Who was going to replace those who moved on to other places, faster churches, perhaps? Those were some of my anxious questions. We don't have a permanent home. We have had to move several times in the past year. We are like nomads, someone offered. Hard to grow when you are moving all the time. Some Sundays we meet at the laundromat and wash and dry clothes with the locals or at the neighborhood park and clean and cook and talk to the people. I wonder some times what we are doing. If we are getting anywhere. What is our mission? We asked at this retreat.
We have t-shirts that share our vision: Love others, no exceptions. We are a diverse group, if a small one. The pastor led us in a reading from Ephesians 1. We heard the words of grace and blessing. Blessing, we said, a word over used for sure. What if everyone knew they were blessed by God, lavishly. We knew a lot of people who did not know that, and felt like an unblessing. What if people felt they mattered to God and he had blessed them so they could bless others. No matter who they were or how unblessed others saw them. What a powerful vision! By the end of the meetings my anxious questions had melted away. Let's go, slow.