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New Interim during a new way of Life -Peter Ilgenfrtz

I started 7 weeks ago as the interim pastor at the Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor, Maine and attended my first week of interim ministry training with IMN in February in Parrish Florida. Fabulous group and training. I was so looking forward to my second week in Phoenix last week when the world turned…

What I’ve been reminded of in these days in all of the fear, grief, anxiety, loss, dislocation and confusion of what a good time it is for a church to be having an interim. Yesterday I had a talk with two of the deacons here about communion and thinking through having folks take part at home while watching our live-stream. We talked about what communion meant, what “traditions” mattered and what we could let go of, the essence and heart of the sacrament. We started to talk about what communion might be like when we are able to return to worship at church. This conversation about thinking through the core of what we believe and how we express it may well not have happened in “ordinary” times. Likewise, last week we had to live into new ways to think about staffing, leadership, communication, worship, pastoral care, etc. We had to again come back to our core values – what is important, what can be left, what do we need to keep. I know that all of us – individuals, communities of faith, families, all are being re-shaped during this time – having left what once was and setting sail towards what might be. On a journey we don’t know how long it will take. What we do know is that we have been changed already and will be. We won’t ever go back to what was before and the Spirit is remaking us. What I know is that God is with us on this journey as I see that expressed in leaders stepping forward to be here with and for each other and the wider community. It is such an encouragement. And I am encouraged about what we will discover on this interim journey as a particular church in mid-coast Maine and as a wider faith community and people. This interim time for all of us is indeed a marvelous and unique time to be on an interim ministry as church.

Peter Ilgenfrtz 206-484-9814 ilgenfritzpeter@gmail.com

Church Amidst Coronavirus

(Will Mancini was a keynote speaker at the IMN 2014 Annual Conference)

We are living in an unprecedented time for all of us—and especially for us as church leaders. This is a moment where we need to serve people and communities well … in ways we may have never served them before. It is also a moment where new ways of being the church will be expected, not questioned. I want to do everything I can to help you maximize this moment in your church, so I will be communicating with you on an almost daily basis, making sure you are aware of the free resources and tools I am making available during this time.

OPEN CHURCH NATIONAL STAFF MEETING
Every Monday in the coming weeks, Dave Rhodes and I will be leading an Open National Staff Meeting for Church Leaders at Mondays at noon EST. Our focus is in challenging and equipping church leaders to move “From Frantic to Framework.”
Click here to register for Monday’s webinar.

FREE GIVEAWAY
To encourage leaders at this pivotal time, I am offering my book Innovating Discipleship—my highest-rated book ever on Amazon—as a FREE PDF download for the first time. Innovating Discipleship provides a simple but powerful master tool for rethinking your church’s ministry strategy in two dimensions—first, the results you’re aiming at and second, the engagement strategy you use to produce them.

If for no other reason, download this resource for the list of 16 super questions for ministry innovation. These questions alone will add value to your leadership.

Click here for this unprecedented FREE giveaway. Talk it over as a team, and advance the mission of Jesus in this cultural moment. If you prefer a hard copy of the book, you may purchase one on Amazon.

Let’s work together to steward this moment well. The future church is at stake.

Clearly in Christ –

Will Mancini

Interesting Times……
submitted by Gene Kern, ELCA

Here’s a theme I’ve developed and started putting out into an anxious system…..
The covid-19 virus is something that has happened to the world.  no one chose it.  no one wants it to stick around.  it is upending life as we know it with disastrous consequences for many, especially the least among us – the poor, the undocumented, the elderly, those whose health is compromised.  we are blessed to have scientists, physicians, nurses, therapists and a whole host of caring professionals working selflessly and furiously on behalf of the whole world.
In the face of all that is real and threatening, we still have some agency.  We cannot always control all of what happens to us, but we can choose our response to the realities we face.
– We can choose to stay connected.
   While we cannot be in the same room, many of us enjoy the blessings of technology that allows us to talk, write, and see each other at any time
– We can choose to be encouraging.
  Can we ever receive too much encouragement?  We are hard wired to go a long way on just a little affirmation.  We can encourage each other.
– We can remember the future.
  Try and picture what life will be like when this crisis is past.  Allow yourself to wonder what it will be like to gather again for worship and fellowship – the music, the laughter, the songs, the hugs.
if it helps……

Brother Richard shared his poem “Lockdown” in a Facebook post on Friday, March 13. His original post has received more than19k positive reactions and has been shared more than 34k times.

Lockdown by Brother Richard Hendrick:

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,

Sing

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