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rev. jeff eddings
Record high temperatures in July didn’t deter thousands of spiritual pilgrims from gathering in the western North Carolina mountains for four days of inspiring worship, book talks, panels, music and dancing — lots of dancing.
Through a collaboration between Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and 1001 New Worshiping Communities, church planters and spiritual leaders visited Puerto Rico in June to learn about ongoing efforts to rebuild after hurricane disasters. 1001 New Worshiping Communities leaders recognized many commonalities with pastors in Puerto Rico, including the necessity of bivocational calls and a need for community engagement and the work of healing and relief.
“Praying with others, retreating with others is an unexpected blessing,” said one participant in last week’s online retreat facilitated by 1001 New Worshiping Communities. The same sentiment sprang up like an epiphany during evening worship when the group closed communion with the Lord’s Prayer in their first language. Following an invitation to “pray with your heart language,” the participants, including speakers of English, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, and Yoruba, prayed together the words that Jesus taught. The Rev. Sue Yoder, pastor of Blank Slate Community in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, said, “In my imagination that’s what it sounded like on Pentecost.”
How do we surrender and seek freedom? How is Jesus both a friend to us and our Lord? How do leaders of worshiping communities tend to their souls while tending to others? How do innovators find spiritual community with companions in ministry?
These were just some of the creative questions explored in the opportunities for spiritual formation sponsored by 1001 New Worshiping Communities during Lent.
Over the last two years, 74 leaders from the 1001 New Worshiping Communities movement have received $200,000 in sabbath and sabbatical grants that enabled them to fully engage in intentional sabbath practice over the course of 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the length of their tenure in their current ministry context.
Taking a break from pastoral responsibilities is sometimes easier said than done. With that in mind, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been offering a four-week program called “Learning to Live into the Rhythms of Sabbath” for Hispanic Latine pastors.
For the final edition of The Way of Spiritual Fortitude sponsored by 1001 New Worshiping Communities, host the Rev. Jeff Eddings engaged someone with intimate knowledge of faith and doubt, the subject of Wednesday’s broadcast.
“How good it is to center down! To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!”
With these words the Rev. Jeff Eddings opened Wednesday’s The Way of Spiritual Fortitude, quoting a mediation from theologian and mystic the Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman.
For church and worshiping community leaders, the Way of Spiritual Fortitude is apparently paved with good intentions, including intending to regularly practice self-care in the midst of long hours doing ministry that can be as demanding as it is draining.
The first in a series of four webinars designed to help pastors and church leaders develop strength and resilience to perform ministry kicks off Wednesday, October 20.