Saturday, September 29

Reconciler Update 9/29/07

"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." -- Ecclesiastes 3:1

Brothers and Sisters,

Autumn in Chicago is an awesome season. I especially like these early fall days that offer the best of summer plus vibrant color and minus the humidity. Today is a gorgeous warm day with an azure sky, no clouds, and just a hint of orange and yellow in the trees. Fall is an in-between time, connecting the lush, sure warmth of summer to the more austere but invigorating winter.

As the seasons change, we at Reconciler likewise find ourselves in a time of transition. The Rev. Tripp Hudgins, one of Reconciler's founders and a beloved member of the Pastoral Team, announced his resignation at a special Congregational Meeting on September 16th. Tripp spoke of needing to channel more energy into his work as pastor at Wilmette's Community Church and into his family life. Human beings have limits. Tripp's resignation was offered and received with real sorrow. Tripp expressed the difficulty of his decision. Several of those present expressed their thanks for the many gifts Tripp has brought us and for his faithfulness to his several commitments.

A poster I liked as a teenager read: "The beauty of the world has two edges: one of sorrow, one of laughter, tearing the heart asunder."Life often juxtaposes sadness and joy, despair and hope. The Christian story is one of death and resurrection. At our Congregational meeting, both grief and optimism were expressed. There were 22 people present! We had just concluded a worship service with 27 people, the most we've ever had on a Sunday night. The joint was hopping. Several folks expressed interest in serving on a Discernment committee to determine how Reconciler should carry on from here. So the energy, commitment, and numbers of people that allow us to move forward are present at the same time that we mourn the loss of Tripp as pastor. The beauty of the world has two edges. Christians know that even in the midst of death we are being called to new life.

In the days to come, we will call together the Discernment committee to begin its work. We will also have a congregational retreat the last weekend of November (with 12 people signed up so far!) We'll begin a new Bible series in mid-October to discuss ways that Christians can develop a healthy and responsible relationship with money. Randall Warren from the Diocese of Chicago, will guide us in a workshop as we seek to be a congregation that can safely care for and address the needs of children in our midst. The Pastoral Team has begun planning worship for the season of Advent. For more details on these activities, see the Announcements below.

I am excited about these and our other possibilities, and am heartened that Tripp will be with us through mid-November to help us make the transition. I am also happy that our deacon Beth Scriven will be with us this year, and that we have new members who bring energy, skills, and wisdom to the Reconciler community. May God bless all of us in this season of change.

Yours in Christ,

Laura+

The Rev. Laura Gottardi-Littell
for The Pastoral Team
The Church of Jesus Christ, Reconciler

Announcements, Announcement, Announcements

Discernment Committee Please let one of the Pastoral Team members know this Sunday, September 30 if you would like to be on the Discernment Committee to help guide Reconciler's path forward. We want to get this committee up and running soon.

Retreat! We will be retreating at the Cenacle in Lincoln Park on Friday, November 30 - Saturday, December 1. Our first session will begin at 7:30 Friday, with an optional overnight stay and more sessions during the day on Saturday. Meals are provided by the Cenacle. Our focus will be on leadership and discernment, and it promises to be a wonderful time. Please turn in your reservation form to Laura by Sunday September 30th!! Forms are available in church this Sunday. Any questions, contact the Pastoral Team.

Bible Study! Begins Wednesday, October 17, at 7:30 in the 'Nidge. This five-week Wednesday night series will explore how Christians can develop a healthy and responsible approach to money. For the first two weeks, we will read and discuss a short book on "Sabbath Economics." See Larry or Jeremy if you would like a book. For the second two weeks, we will watch and discuss a film called "Living with Money." Our final session will be a wrap-up.

Tripp's Last Sunday with us is November 18th. We will be having a farewell party for Tripp, likely right after worship on the 18th. More details to come.

Workshop on "Keeping God's People Safe." On Wednesday December 5th from 7:00 - 9:30 pm, Randall Warren, Pastoral Care officer in the Diocese of Chicago, will show us a DVD and lead us in conversation about how Reconciler can help protect children in our midst from sexual abuse. This is eye-opening and useful information for anyone, regardless of whether or not you have children/work with children. Please join us!