Suffering + Endurance + Character = Hope (really?)

Note: Throughout the summer we are revisiting posts of the past year, grouped around common themes. We will return with new entries right after Labor Day.

There has never been a single church board meeting that was convened in a sound-proof booth. We may think we are gathering to discuss the church school curriculum, the proposals to repair the roof, and a potential change to worship times, but on the way to the meeting there is word of another school shooting. And one of your board members has just lost her job or received a challenging diagnosis. And the back-and-forth vitriol that fills our national discourse is in everyone’s mind as they enter the room and find their place at the table.

And then, during the meeting itself, the topic of roof repairs turns into a tug-of-war between those who are wary of spending money “on ourselves” and those who can’t believe the needs of the building don’t “come first.” And then, the discussion of worship gets thrown over to an anxiety about the congregation’s future.

While probably not on the stated agenda (“7:15 pm – we share our anxieties and frustrations for 10 minutes”), all of these feelings – suffering, frustration, anger, anxiety– are present in that meeting as board members struggle for signs of hope.

The following posts draw on scripture, poetry and memoir to invite your board to attend to these “uninvited guests.”

The Place of Suffering


Filling the Hollowed-Out Places


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