Today was the final day of Unco12 East. Here I am sitting in my apartment when 12 hours ago I was sitting in Stony Point’s mess hall pondering the upcoming day. Today is the day of transition.
Today we take what Unco has been, the discussions we’ve had, the relationships we’ve formed out into our crazy lives.
There was a session called “Shared Learning” where the group highlighted some things we wanted to continue talking about in order to get some concrete ideas about where to start or how to begin. In that session Carol Howard Merritt (who is one of my favorite authors and I can’t believe I got to meet her in person!) handed out slips of paper.
These slips of paper said many different things; and Carol urged us to realize that we have permission to be creative, to dream, to ask questions. God has already given us permission. I like the slip I got (pictured above) which turns permission into “per” and “mission.”
Mission-creating and living out (as best we can) God’s vision for our world in big and everyday ways
More than ever I am convinced of how context matters in ministry. The priesthood of all believers isn’t just a nice idea. It’s necessary. Every person participates in mission; every person has a vocation. In the broadest way that vocation is living into our baptismal identities. That’s going to look very different here at my seminary than it is for the leaders of Isaiah’s Table in Syracuse which is going to look very different than Michael Gyura and his Worship Times ministry.
The group that gathered at Unco had diverse understandings of their individual and their community’s mission. Yet, there are also similarities. We prayed together. We ate together. We traded stories of hope and stories of failure together. We were many parts of Christ’s Body, and we want to work together.
Where do we go from here? It’s a good question. What are we doing? How are we going to do it? Who are we going to do it with? All good questions.
Tonight, though, I’m basking in the laughter, the love, the hope, and the affirmation I personally received at Unco. Little things that are anything but little to me like, “I read your blog” and “I see why you do liturgy.” Big things that overwhelm my soul with gratitude like, ” Let me know how I can help you.”
The other slip I received this morning declared: “You are loved.” It’s one thing to see it in purple pen on a white slip of paper. It’s another to know deep inside your soul that statement is true because you have seen God’s love embodied.
Emily Hope Morgan is student at Princeton Seminary and a candidate for the ministry of teaching elder in the PC(USA). She writes the blog Fight the Bees which deals with pondering questions from a young adult’s point of view. Find her on Twitter @PresbyEmily.