Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One of those really great days in the life of a pastor (of which there are many)

Arrived slightly late at the new Arsaga's on the bike trail downtown for a 7 a.m. meeting. It's an amazing location for a coffee shop, in Fayetteville’s historic Freight Building located behind the Train Depot on Dickson Street. On the backside of the building in this photo, there's a porch and outdoor seating overlooking one of the main biking trails in town, plus the train tracks. While seated there, had the noisy pleasure of watching six loud diesels pull loads of stone through town, plus the usual spate of bikers and walkers on the trail.

I was at Arsaga's to meet with some friends I have made in Fayetteville, one of whom is now a member of our congregation. We are trying to imagine transformative faith events to host in the downtown community. Our goal is to create a space for questions and challenge, perhaps especially connecting with the more abandoned spaces of the city center. We hope especially to connect with folks who may not, for various reasons, attend traditional church, but who are interested in the kind of transformative experiential encounter we curate. We also hope to make a contribution to the art and culture of the Fayetteville community. It's a grand adventure and experiment. For those interested in accompanying us in this adventure, just send me a note. To get an idea of the kinds of things we are imagining, see either The Art of Curating Worship, or How (Not) to Speak of God.

At 10 a.m. I went a small distance up Dickson to St. Paul's Episcopal for a meeting convened there by the parish associate of First Presbyterian (can you tell what an ecumenical little community we have going?). We were idea sharing to address food insecurity and hunger in Northwest Arkansas. It was an inspiring convo of faith leaders and non-profit representatives (including Jody Dilday, a member of our congregation and executive director of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund in NWA), all doing their best to try and address the (seemingly) intractable issue of ubiquitous hunger in our communities. Although our county is in many ways one of the more prosperous ones in the state, it is also the hungriest.Although many stories are inspiring, including the daily and consistent work of the Salvation Army, Feed Fayetteville, and many others to feed people. 

I was most inspired by the rep from Tri-Cycle Farms. They are an urban farm smack dab in the (geographical) center of Fayetteville (perhaps not in the urban center depending on how you measure these things), and their dream is to re-connect people to the dirt, to growing and eating their own food in season, and everything that comes along with it. They tend to think the main way to address food insecurity is for everyone to grow their own food. It's an inspiring if daunting concept.As I listened to the various representatives talk about their feeding ministries, I was also inspired by First Christian, who has connected with a retirement center who cooks the food, and they then distribute it at a meal location in an apartment complex in town.

All of us realized one of the bigger issues in our town is transportation. Although there are meals available in a variety of locations, not everyone can easily travel to access those meals.Personally, as a pastor, I would like to get us offering at least one meal per week for free in our own neighborhood, using our own kitchen. I think that this would positively connect us to the neighborhood and feed hungry people right in our own school district who may not be able to travel to other locations. Right now it's just a dream, but I'm talking it up.

Came back to the office around noon, talked with our property and grounds chair re: next steps for resurfacing our parking lot; made some phone calls to set up home visits and communion visits; outlined and planned music selections for VBS at the end of the month. Did some calendar work, including fielding a query to schedule a wedding next spring. Firmed up plans for a November road trip to speak and preach at St. Olaf College, then present at workshop at Luther Seminary's Annual Consultation on the Missional Church. Discussed a few topics with fellow clergy in a Facebook group. Wrote the Prayers of the Church. Prepped the "intro to the gospels" lesson for bible study tomorrow, and then had an amazing conversation with the chairperson of our stewardship committee who told me they had successfully recruited fifteen new members (!!!!!!) to flesh out the goal we have of having stewardship be about Ask. Thank. Tell.

I'm humbled and inspired by this kind of servant leadership.
Tonight I'm having coffee with a couple new to our congregation, to get to know them better and talk. Then out for dinner at Firehouse Subs, where kids eat free every Tuesday evening. Have been getting to know the owner of Firehouse over some lunch meetings, really neat guy and fellow Lutheran.
And that's a day in the life of this pastor. Oh, and I wrote this blog post. That is all.


  1. A day in a life...hmmm...the Beatles should have written a song with this title. It would be a hit.
    Thanks Clint.

  2. Thanks, Greg. BTW, I had some strange formatting problems with this post. My apologies to those readers who had to deal with that. I think it was one of the photos I included in the first post...