It is springtime in our churches


Jill Graham

3/22/2011

By the Rev. Jill D. Graham
Associate Conference Minister

Well… just because yesterday was the first full day of spring, outside my window I'd never have known it!  After a brief tease last Friday when the temperatures reached the low sixties, yesterday we had what appeared to be a blizzard here in the Berkshires. But I am confident that this newest layer of white stuff will not last, and that even now, new life is ready to burst forth from the (currently-still-very-hidden-but-I-trust-real-nonetheless) warming of the soil.

As with our New England seasons, life in our churches is rarely predictable, but always interesting. As I talk with pastors here in the western part of our state, and as I meet with Search Committees of churches in transition, I am increasingly aware of churches that are becoming more and more open to the movement of the Spirit among them.

New passion is being discovered around who they are as a people of faith; I see folks trusting God to accomplish – not for them, but with them – something incredibly meaningful and even life changing. I see spring – maybe even signs of resurrection – happening among us.

It seems to me that it’s not just about what we’re doing, but about who we are becoming; how we’re allowing the Spirit to work within us; how we’re giving witness to the extravagant welcome and radical love of God in our churches and community.

As many of you know, coupled with my work with the ministries in the west, I also pastor our church in Sheffield. Recently I’ve noticed new folks are attending and then returning to worship, not necessarily because the building is nicely painted (which it is), or because the preaching is fabulous (which I won’t comment on), or because our greeters are particularly perky and helpful (even if they are), but because folks are inviting friends and relatives to join them for worship. There is an energy that is contagious. People want to share it with others. The Spirit is active!

It’s like Spring. It makes us want to get out and enjoy it. Talk about it. Make the most of it. Let it inspire, as Parker Palmer once wrote, the “green stems of possibility” among us.

May it be so among you.

Happy Spring!



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