“Vocation is the place where your deep gladness (JOY) meets the world’s deep need” Frederick Buechner
Called to Covenant Forma Conference
Three Messy Church USA leaders attended the Called to Covenant Episcopal FORMA conference in Alexandria, VA on January 17-19th. Since our very beginning, Messy Church USA has been a virtual organization. Our leadership team is spread across three time zones so it is a delight to be in the same place at the same time. We were at the conference to share the story of Messy Church through an exhibition table, to lead a hybrid workshop on Messy Church and to lead a Messy Church evening worship based on our conference scripture of Micah 6:8.
We were also there to learn and connect! The conference began with an inspiring keynote on vocation by the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, Bishop of the Episcopal Conference of Missouri. One of the many quotes that has stayed with me from Bishop Johnson’s presentation was that “If there is no joy, no passion, no love in your vocation…it is not your vocation.” As he shared that nugget, I realized that my work as a leader of Messy Church USA these past five years has been filled with joy!
It is a joy…
It is a joy to connect with Messy Church leaders all over the United States who have a passion for reaching out beyond the walls of their church. It is a joy to have a growing team of leaders that share the vision to equip more leaders to start, sustain and connect their Messy Churches. It is a joy to remember the many people from around the USA and the world that have come into my life through Messy Church.
Lessons on vocation from three women from Exodus
Bishop Johnson then turned to the stories of three women from the book of Exodus as a guide for discovering joy in our vocation. Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives from Exodus 1 and Miriam from Exodus 15. At a time of violence and death, Shiphrah and Puah, bravely engaged in direct civil disobedience as a protest to the empire. In Exodus 15, Miriam, packed a tambourine, in the middle of the night as she and the Israelites escaped slavery in the middle of the night. Why did she pack a tambourine? Did she have a premonition that singing and dancing would be vital to a community on the move?
Vocational Life of Joy guide from Bishop Johnson
- Let go of what has been to allow the new to emerge
- Take courage…be bold
- Envision the future
- Vision with a task is hope for the world
- Vision without a task is a dream
- A task without vision is drudgery
- Be grounded in prayer, rooted in faith and place your trust in God
- Discover Joy- Don’t forget to pack your tambourine!
My friends, as you move more fully into this new year, my prayer is that you will discover the joy in your ministry. Don’t forget to pack that tambourine and break into a song and dance!
(I forgot to take a picture of the three of us together but here is a picture of Johannah Myers at our FORMA Exhibition booth and Maureen Carey and I exploring DC monuments on a windy day after the conference)