Dream of Presbytery of Wyoming general presbyter becomes a reality
by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE – In December 2013 Steve Shive had a dream.
Shive, general presbyter of the Presbytery of Wyoming, says that in the dream, he felt a strong sense to create a place where God’s people could come together to work on spiritual practices. “I saw our teaching and ruling elders coming together to learn from each other,” he says, “and to engage in the presence of their lives in Christ in community.”
This week that dream will come to fruition when the newly formed organization called the Sabbath Center, in Casper, Wyoming, hosts its first event. On Friday and Saturday nine participants will immerse themselves in a program titled “Sabbath as Practice: Listening for the Heartbeat of God.”
The event will focus on three questions:
- What is Sabbath in the Christian story?
- Why bother to practice it?
- How does Sabbath feed faith and spirituality?
The facilitator for the event will be Libby Tedder Hugus, pastor of a new worshiping community, the Table. When Shive envisioned the Sabbath Center—and its obvious focus on the Sabbath—he thought of Tedder Hugus. Shive knew of Tedder Hugus’s spiritual practices around Sabbath, and also remembered a conversation they’d had with the Presbytery of Wyoming’s new church development committee about the topic of rest.
Presbyterian News Service was there for that conversation, while filming a video story on the Table, “No One Should Do This Work Alone.”
During morning prayer with the committee, Shive read from Psalm 127:2: “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for God gives sleep to God’s beloved,” and then asked for reflection from those around the table.
Tedder Hugus listened carefully to others reflecting around the table. When it was her turn to speak, she said, “I’m so struck by the contrast of ‘eating anxious bread” and ‘God giving rest to his beloved.’ So often I have my nose down, thinking I’m doing the work of the Lord when it’s not anything close to it.”
She said it reminded her of a quote from St. Teresa of Avila that “love turns work into rest.”
“How do we make that connection between work on behalf of God, and as a matter of love and rest?” she asked. “Because God wants to give that to us, as God’s beloved.”
For now, Shive says, Sabbath Center plans to meet in multiple places around Wyoming. “We wouldn’t complain if someone wanted to give us a permanent location,” he says, “but for now there are plenty of beautiful natural spaces in Wyoming that we can use.”
Next month the Sabbath Center board will meet to plan a November event around Advent, plus three additional events in 2017.
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