Get A Grip

Get a good grip on the gas cap.  After fueling your car, tighten the gas cap well to prevent evaporation of gas.  If the cap is not on tightly,  you could lose as much as 30 gallons/year!

Welcome to the month of story!

We are moving from spring into summer, a time of stories of rebirth, relaxing and letting go.
We are moving from a time of isolation to a time to going forth vaccinated and unmasked (when possible) reconnecting with others: seeing smiles, giving hugs and feeling the energy in a space when we are present to each other. What a time!

As a congregation we are also moving into a new story about who we have been, who are in this moment and who we want to be in the future. There will be a celebration of Rev. Mark’s ministry in July and as well as a time of grief for the loss of his presence among us as he begins a new chapter in his life: retirement. A new story, for him and for us. Wow! What an amazing time of possibility for all of us. This month we find out who our interim will be, and we await their arrival in August. 

Stories: beginnings, middles and endings. I invite you this month to also consider your story. What stories in life empower you? What stories limit you? Consider this story by Christopher Buice The Beautiful Tiger.

What speaks to you about this story? 

A final invitation to reflection:

“We all have one particularly important story that we tell ourselves, about ourselves: our “life story,” which helps us to organize our experiences and give us a sense of self, even dictating our behavior in some cases. We’re constantly updating, amending and adding to this story as we encounter new experiences.”  – Carolyn Gregoire

How are you updating, amending and adding to your life story?

The End Is Near

These days I feel like one of those sidewalk prophets carrying the sign,
“The End is Near.” Ain’t it the truth! In a little more than a month, my 17-year ministry with this congregation will be over.

It feels a little unreal to imagine not being a part of this community. Debbie and I will still be living in Asheville, but after June you won’t see me here anymore. I’ll step aside to make room for an interim minister who will guide you through the next two years while you prepare for your next settled minister. Yes, we’ll bump into each other in the supermarket or elsewhere in town, and I will always be happy to greet you. But we won’t talk about what’s happening at this place.

People have told me that this practice seems strange – shutting myself off from people and an institution I have come to love. And, in a sense, it is. But I freely agree to it because I want to do my best to assure a smooth transition to my successor. And my presence would only disrupt that.

Many of you have asked about my plans, and my short answer is that at least for a little while I plan to press the pause button in my life. I’ll find things to do, but I plan to keep my commitments to a minimum. Ministry is an all-consuming calling and, like you, I need to give myself some space before I jump into the next thing.

There’s something serendipitous about you entering search at a time when there is so much change in the world. With so much in play, it gives you time and space to reflect deeply on the gift this congregation has to give to the world, what kind of leadership you need to bring it about, and what parts you are willing to play to make it happen.

As I make my way out the door, I want you to know that you have a good foundation to build on: a proud and momentous history, strong lay leadership, and many creative and engaged people involved in making ministry happen here, supported by an accomplished, devoted and compassionate staff.

Whatever sadness I feel leaving my work here, it is exceeded by a deep sense of gratitude. Ministry is life-changing work, and you have changed me in all the best ways. It has been my great joy to serve you. Know that you have my blessing to realize the best that you are, to serve each other well, and let the light of the beloved community, the beacon that guides our faith, shine within, among and beyond you, making love, peace and justice your work in the world.

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister