Two years ago, I began this journey with four other women in a cohort group in College of Pastoral Leaders at Austin Theological Seminary. It all started with a group of women that I met as part of The Young Clergy Women Project. We became fast friends. There were dinners and bottles of wine. There was conversations and this desire for something more. In all honesty, we were looking for an excuse to spend more time together. That is, an excuse to drink wine together. So we applied to this program with lofty ideas about how we would support each other in trying to understand what makes our leadership different as young clergy women. We knew were were doing it differently. We just didn’t understand why we were different.
We applied to this grant. We had big ideas and crazy dreams. There was nothing that could stop us — except that lots has changed in those two years.
One member of our group had a baby. Three of us left our churches. Only one of those three is serving a church now.
And then, there was this moment the last time we were together in Washington DC where we each wondered if we were called to traditional churches. It’s the assumption that began this grant. We wanted to better understand how to create change within traditional churches. We didn’t want to do abandon those churches and start something new. That’s what we had said. But something changed in that retreat in DC. Something about us changed.
Today I’m leaving for the last retreat we’ll share funded by College of Pastoral Leaders at Austin Theological Seminary. I know this isn’t really the last retreat because we still have so many questions. And we really do enjoy drinking wine together. That won’t end this week. I know it won’t. It’ll continue. Something will happen past this point. But, I ask for your prayers. I ask for your prayers this week as we gather for our last retreat in Arizona as we try to better understand where God is leading each of us in life and ministry.
It is holy time indeed.