This year’s Celtic Prayer Retreat is over, but there are many lingering thoughts and reflections from our time together. Last week Christine posted the morning liturgy from Saturday, and I posted posted my first meditation from the retreat, “Identifying Your Great Cloud of Witnesses”. This compilation from our Sunday morning reflections were crafted to help us explore our personal “great cloud of witnesses”, those in our lives who have touched and helped shape who we are today.
One of the highlights of the retreat for me was the ceremony our new MSA board created to honor and bless Christine for her leadership over the years. As the incoming Director, I was honored to share my deep appreciation for all that Christine has brought to our organization and, through her leadership, to many around the world.
Christine’s leadership has cultivated in MSA, and in our individual lives, what we like to refer to as “The MSA Process”. From our staff meetings to how our workshops are designed and facilitated, we begin by listening to what God is already doing in each of our lives. This is not necessarily an efficient process, but one that allows the living water of Christ to penetrate deep into our souls. As we hear what God is already doing in our personal lives, we begin to discover connecting threads that inspire, encourage, and link our lives together.
We also discover that what God is up to on a personal level often connects to what God is up to in our work together through MSA and Godspace. This process helps us not only to look back and find connections, but also to look forward to see more clearly how God is leading us into the future. It’s not surprising with all the gardening and reflection that Christine does that this would be a very organic process.
Christine’s leadership in this way is decidedly not top-down but one of listening, mutuality, and gentle guidance. Her influence in my life has been profound, and I am deeply grateful to have been able to work so closely with her these past several years. Which leads me into the next section of the retreat, where the board blessed and installed me as the new Director of MSA // Godspace.
What an honor to follow in the footsteps of Christine and Tom in giving leadership and direction to this community. I was tempted to use the word “organization” there, and technically it is, but much more than that, MSA // Godspace is a community, with a small inner core we call staff and volunteers, but a much broader community of folks, like you, who desire to create fuller, more sustainable, prayerful, imaginative, and connected lives. MSA // Godspace is you, it’s us, together with Christ walking into a future of promise and hope.
As the board, my coworkers, and those at the retreat gathered around me to pray, I couldn’t help but think back on the theme for our retreat, “Celebrating the Goodness of God with All the Saints”. Right there, in that moment, I was experiencing just that. There are saints in my life, past and present, who have shaped me. And at that moment I was surrounded not only by them, but also by others, each shaped and molded by their own cloud of witnesses and now, all of them together, surrounding me to bless me into my new role at MSA. Humbling, yes! A bit daunting, absolutely! But I realize that it’s not really about me but truly about us, together.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that we don’t refer to our blog simply as the Godspace blog anymore. Over the years, through Christine’s organic leadership style, we’ve seen how God has tended and cultivated the Godspace garden. What was originally Christine’s personal blog, connected to her book by the same name, has expanded and become a community garden. This transformation has been gradual. It’s been beautiful to watch as new writers have joined the blog and begun to blossom and flower, adding splashes of color and different fragrances along the way. With your help, I hope to continue this rich heritage of community building and partnership, both on the blog and in all that we do through MSA.
Please continue to pray:
- for our board of directors as they help us walk through this important leadership change and help discern our way forward.
- for Christine as she lets go of administrative tasks and fashions a new perspective as Godspace contributor and writer.
- for our team as we also navigate these changes.
- for me as I step into this new role as Director, that I may both build on the past while engaging the future in ways that help us to flourish in an ever-changing world.
Together creating pathways of Shalom,
Mustard Seed Associates // Godspace
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