I was talking with Jamil about what life is like for each of us on Sunday mornings at church. When we are actually doing what we do – leading worship and/or teaching children – we are happy campers. But both of us are aware that neither of us has time to either complete a conversation before needing to attend to something or have a conversation of any depth or meaning. So we both end up leaving church feeling as if we have been rude and inattentive, dissatisfied with our interactions, scattered and worn out from juggling all the fragments of conversations. Ironically, Sunday mornings are NOT the time to have connective or deep conversations with your ministers.
Jamil is still learning faces and names as well as directing our lifespan education and participating in committee and task force meetings as well as holding teas after services to try and get to know people. Which means that from the time he arrives in the morning, he is on and moving. I have also learned that with Jamil, if you want him to remember something or get back to you, text or email him. Neither of us can remember who it was that we said we would get back to or what it was we were supposed to do for so and so. Both of us respond well to reminders via technology!
Because we are a church made up of people from nearly 18 zip codes, Sunday mornings are the time we are all together or see one another. Consequently when we do gather, we try to grab each other to take care of business. Which leaves newcomers or folks who are not on task forces or committees essentially sidelined during the hospitality time after the service. It also turns a potential time for connection into a business meeting.
You may have noticed that we have buttons for you to choose to wear on Sunday mornings in addition to your name buttons. They are meant to be conversation starters that help us get to know one another better. We also now have coloring books and markers and crayons set up at one table for all ages to be able to color. I know that having a project in front of me takes some of the awkwardness of conversation away but in other ways, opens it up. So make sure to don a button and to sit down to color.
Jamil and I want to be engaged in meaningful conversations with the members and friends of the congregation. The best way to do that is to set up a time other than Sunday morning to connect. Both of us are more than willing to flex our schedules to be able to meet or talk on the phone or have a one-on-one ZOOM call. I should mention that Jamil’s assistant minister of Lifelong Learning, his Chihuahua, Bodhi, is also available for consultations!
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,