Welcome to the first installment of “Faithful Connections” a blog series for sharing my reflections, notes of encouragement, and maybe a word from the occasional guest writer! It will be a space for reflecting on our life together at Westside, highlighting the achievements and learnings of our various ministries here, and strengthening connections to our larger faith movement.
But first, there is business to get to.
I have to report that I found my first two weeks “in-residence” in West Seattle to be a whirlwind and a delight. I had long anticipated the joy of worshipping with this community, and have not been disappointed. Gathering to worship together can be such a centering experience for a community, providing a space to celebrate or to mourn, to mark thresholds, to set or realign with intentions, to see one another a bit more clearly. Our worship services in March felt like a good start to this important work that we have set before us. I have been impressed by the collaborative, experimental, and familial tone that the Westside worship team has set. I look forward to many more days of worship and ritual with you all, among all else that happens in congregational life.
Because of all that is going on in this congregation, it’s important to me that everyone in this community knows how to get ahold of me! As your new minister, I am available to play a consultative and collaborative role with various committees, and I am ready to support you as you navigate life through connecting during pastoral care visits.
As half-time minister, the logistics may be complicated at times, but I’m sure we can figure it together. So let’s talk about the plan.
For the foreseeable future, I am serving Westside as a commuter, living part of each month in Portland, and part of each month in West Seattle. We will get to practice using the terms “in residence” and “not in residence” to describe my availability.
When I am in residence, that means that I am physically in West Seattle, and am generally available for meetings, events, and working collaboratively. I will be in residence for approximately 10 days per month, on weeks aligned with worship and other important events in the life of the community.
When I am not in residence, I am available on a very limited basis, at less than 10 hours per week in those times. I will be tuning in on these weeks to have conversations that are time-sensitive or which otherwise can’t be fit into my weeks in residence.
This system is what will allow me to be fully present when I am in West Seattle, and prioritize connecting with people as personally as possible. As someone who came into ministry at the same time as the pandemic, I am grateful for every moment that I get to experience the presence and energy that comes from sharing a room with someone. So, I am grateful that I get to share many of these moments here at Westside.
When you need a little extra support, or want to connect about your experiences in this community, please reach out to me for a 1:1 visit or call. I will be especially available for these on Fridays and Sundays on the weeks I am in residence, and will soon publish regular office hours to make visits in these times simpler.
And, of course, I know that life doesn’t often happen on our schedules. Please reach out when you are in need. If an extreme or urgent situation arises, I will arrange for appropriate coverage if I am not able to be there in the way that is needed. Note that as an Amtrak commuter, I cannot rush in quickly to help. Should a crisis occur, I will do what I can to respond.
More to Come!
Thanks to those of you who have read this far. To keep things running smoothly, I will keep my out-of-office messages updated with my schedule information, and will post my monthly schedules regularly. If in doubt, reach out! I look forward to getting to know you better.
Below is a set of calendars showing where I’ll be for the rest of this church year. Blue indicates my weeks in residence in West Seattle.