On August 13, without fanfare, Clint and I crossed from Montana into Idaho on I-90. It was a pilgrimage from Denver to Seattle; from one rich chapter of life and ministry in the Mountain Sky Area into another, unknown chapter in the Greater Northwest Area.
How do you enter a new place? Or even, how do you re-enter a familiar place after many years? How does a leader join multiple teams each with its own habits and traditions, its quirks, taboos and preferences?
In Luke 10, Jesus sends his followers to places they had never been before with instructions to “carry no purse, no bag, no sandals” (Luke 10:4). He tells them to offer only a blessing of peace and to receive the hospitality offered them by strangers who receive their blessing. They are to heal the sick and tell them that the Kingdom of God “is right on your doorstep” (Luke 10:9, The Message). As you read the passage you wonder, what about teaching about Jesus, condemning wickedness, and baptizing converts?
Sounds like a gentle kind of evangelism, grounded in vulnerability, mutual respect, shared resources and healing relationships. Can it be that the Kingdom of God is there on the doorstep – the threshold – where guest and host exchange blessings and meet one another?
I’m thinking of this year as a threshold. Throughout the year I will travel to a variety of places for “threshold events” where we will meet and bless one another. In June, we’ll cross the threshold into new relationship with a service of installation during the joint Annual Conference session of the Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences, with representatives from Alaska joining us as well.
God’s at work in the world, sending us to new places to meet new people. We are blessed to be a blessing!
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky
Threshold Events for Bishop Stanovsky
Friday, October 14 – Alaska UMC Office (1660 Patterson St) Anchorage at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 13 – Montavilla UMC in SE Portland, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 8 – Olympia First UMC, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 21 – Eugene First UMC, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 26 – Spokane Valley UMC, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 5 – Edmonds UMC, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 – Meridian UMC, Meridian, ID, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 8 – Moses Lake UMC, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.