Fall arrives!

Hello, everyone! Fall is finally here and my fall newsletter just went out. There’s a lot going on this fall, including two new courses on a new campus for a new college!

I’m teaching two religion courses in the fall semester at The College of New Rochelle. It’s a traditional college with an interesting history and a great community of faculty, staff, and students.

Coming right after being recognized as the Distinguished Faculty of the Year for UOPX’s Jersey City Campus, its a humbling experience to learn a whole new system and process – to say nothing of 45 student names and the countless faculty and administration that I’ve met!

But like most of our humbling experiences, it is a great space for growth and learning – I hope your fall is starting off just as well as mine!

Blessings,

Beth

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Labor Day?

How’d it get to be Labor Day weekend already?!?!?!?! Sigh…

Well, at least I have updated my schedule page so you have the latest links to online courses and my last preaching date for the summer!

See you in the fall!

Blessings,

Beth

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Tech/training Interview!

On August 6th, I’ll be interviewed on Bruce Hurwitz Presents about Technology and Training for Non-Profits. We’ll be talking about the free or almost-free ways religious groups or non-profits can use technology to help train their volunteers!

The interview happens at 5pm and will be recorded for those who want to listen later!

If you have more interest in how to use technology in your congregation, you might also want to check out my BeADisciple course on Creating a Digital Ministry, particularly the one that is running in October in conjunction with The Study: Spiritual Action in Daily Life.

Hoping to see you at either or both of these opportunities!

Blessings,

Beth

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Changes, always changes!

With today’s edition of my seasonal newsletter, a change is happening on this website. I’ve come to realize that the two tools work together – you can hear about my work once every three months when the newsletter arrives in your inbox or you can come here between editions to check out current, updated possibilities.

However, ego carefully tucked away, I have to admit that very few people come here to read my blog! So this blog page is going to morph into something else. A place I can post some extra pictures that didn’t make it into the newsletter, a place to add a little more to what I couldn’t fit into the newsletter, and maybe once in awhile a bigger plug for a special event that’s coming up.

If you want to hear about those additions and updates between newsletters,  you can subscribe to this blog on the upper right side of this screen!

Blessings,

Beth

 

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The Anniversary celebration happened!

What a great day – with great preaching, family, friends, and memories! I’ll be posting more about it here next week – and sharing much more in my seasonal newsletter. If you aren’t on my mailing list, you can sign up for the newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bih8Sn

Meanwhile, blessings on your ordinary/extraordinary ministries!

Beth

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20th anniversary almost here!!!

On June 10th, I am celebrating the 20th anniversary of my ordination! If you’ve been on my mailing list for awhile – or following this website – or seeing me on Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – you know all about this already. But, as time has gone by, my relationship to the celebration has changed slightly… so I feel free to tell you all about it yet again!

It starts with the Examen of Grace – a six step process of examining life for evidence of God’s grace. The first step is to walk back through the previous day with God, seeing it as God would see it. The second step is to give thanks for a gift of the day. The third step is to celebrate God’s empowering love in some time when you were loved or loving. The fourth step is to celebrate God’s undefeated love in some time when you were less than loved or loving. The fifth step is to ask for a specific grace for the day to come and the final step is to fully describe what that day will look like when it holds that grace.

I’ve been doing the Examen, fitfully, for decades but this year it has been one of my goals to do it monthly, seeing the gifts and grace that has been with me on a slightly larger and more regular basis. And, this morning, I used the Examen to look back at my years of ministry – where were the gifts, the evidence of empowering and undefeated love – as well as looking forward for the future years of ministry – what grace will I need for those years?

I had some help in doing that decades-long overview: a recently written, full and complete (I hope), Curriculum Vitae, Latin for “course of life.” Like a resume but covering every article written, public speaking event, major (and minor) project, etc., etc., etc.

Yes, I know I should have done it long ago but I didn’t – and now it was a huge project, involving aging paper, almost a decade of iCalendar, old cds of church files and documents, some of which only open in text interspersed with small blank boxes – and some that wouldn’t open at all. (I wonder what was so important that I wanted to save it  but not important enough to reformat?)

But the most interesting thing in this process has been seeing the overview of my life, the arc of my ministry, the theme that ran through every congregation I’ve served and every job I’ve had and probably every sermon I’ve preached!

It’s an interesting way to see one’s self and one’s work and I strongly recommend creating one no matter what field you are in.

And no, I’m not going to tell you what I saw; you’ll need to be with me on June 10th for that – or read the Summer 2018 newsletter!

You can see details of the service here and of the fundraising to support new pastors here. And if you aren’t on my mailing list to receive my seasonal newsletter, you can join that here.

I hope you share my celebration with me in some way – and look for that arc in your own ministry. And if you and I have shared some part of either of those, you can email me at beth20anniversary@gmail.com!

Blessings,

Beth

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Child abuse creates adult storms

You know I lead Safe Sanctuary and Safe Church trainings, right? Another online session starts on May 7th and, this week, I updated some statistics for that session. While the statistics come from many sources, one source that I find particularly distressing is childhelp.org. They do such a thorough job of outlining the problems that it makes me, who has worked with this topic for almost 20 years, anxious.

Here’s a few examples:

  • The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between 4 and 7 children every day to child abuse and neglect.
  • Individuals who reported 6 or more adverse childhood experiences had an average life expectancy 2 decades shorter than those who reported none. Ischemic heart disease (IHD), Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), liver disease and other health-related quality of life issues are tied to child abuse.
  • In one study, 80% of 21-year-olds who reported childhood abuse met the criteria for at least 1 psychological disorder. Other studies show significant mental and reproductive health issues. (You can see all the sources for these statistics on the childhelp website.)

So, today, when payments to a porn star are making the news, I began to wonder.

The connection between child abuse and prostitution is well documented. (As long ago as 1995, the US Department of Justice documented the connection between child abuse and multiple sexual crimes.) But adults creating pornography is not a crime.  And there seems to be a division on the topic: some researchers think that there is a direct link between being abused as a child and creating or using pornography as an adult. Others say that it can’t be proven.

I suppose I’m a bit of a prude on the topic; showing my years, I guess! I am still shocked by a church leader who apparently fell in that second group, someone who defended pornography at a Safe Sanctuary training…

But I can’t help but wonder if, along with the MeToo movement, we are at a place where we can talk about sexual abuse of both children and adults, male and female, in a way that includes the long term affects on society.

Was there a time in the life of folks in the news today when a safe church – or a safe home or school – might have been a help? And what is the future of the children and youth in our care today if we don’t provide safety for them now?

Relieve my anxiety a little and make sure your policy is up-to-date and being followed! Thank you!

Blessings,

Beth

 

 

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