Like a baby bird who has just leapt from the nest and into the dense brush without quite understanding how its wings work, Welcome Table is in the thick of it now. There is no chance of climbing back into the security of the treetop nest; we can only move forward, hoping to stay hidden from the neighbor’s cat long enough to make our wings work.
From the security of our metaphorical nest, last year Joan, Jo, and I dedicated much of last year’s retreat to prepare us all for this time; the con- gregation talked about change and transitions; we imagined the church we will eventually become, we reviewed our vision and mission statements, and shared the descriptions of our community generated during our 2013 retreat. Around that same time, the Elders reached out to most of you, to listen to your hopes and concerns for the future. Finally, in September, Jo led us through an exercise to identify the values we held individually, as a church, and what we knew about the values of Beacon Hill.
For all of our preparation, however, this has been a challenging time for our community. There is simply no possible way that managing these transitions could have been made easy. It was always going to be difficult for the little bird to learn to fly, no matter how its mother raised it in the nest.
As the flightless little bird, hiding in the brush from the cat, what now? First, it’s important to stay true to our core selves. Birds are flying creatures, and this one must learn to fly: Welcome Table has described itself as resilient, respectful in conflict, open to paradox, questioning and “We know we need God.” We have said that we value responsibility, integrity, courage, authenticity and most importantly, we know “It’s always about Jesus.”
Friends. We have some (more) hard work ahead. It will be exciting, exhilarating, and renewing. Learning to fly is fun! We are also in a dangerous time. It’s easy to blame. We need all the love, faith, and grace we can muster: that is how we will avoid that cat long enough to learn to fly.