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November 25, 2020 at 10:30 am #4989officeKeymaster
Noticings…November 25, 2020
I’m a member of our denomination’s General Council Executive. We had our usual November 2-day meeting last weekend, but it was online, of course, rather than in-person. One of the challenges with online meetings is feeling disconnected. It’s great that technology allows us to interact so seamlessly, and that during a pandemic we can safely gather folks from coast to coast, but even though we can see one another there’s something missing. I really miss the meals – not for the food but because our friendships and relationships organically formed and deepened while breaking bread together. This means that we have to work hard at creating intentional time in our meetings to connect.
On the weekend we were put into breakout groups of 6 and did some personal faith journey story telling. It was delightful. I’ve known and worked with these folks for years in some cases but I learned so much more about them, simply by being present and listening. I learned one person had the same age gap between siblings that I did, and another member’s face lit up in joy as I shared about an author who is important to me who they knew as a mentor from decades before. Our connections are much deeper and more interrelated than we think they are.
The other thing this story telling accomplished was that it took us deeper than the usual small talk one experiences in online meetings. Disembodied Brady Bunch faces strewn about a screen are just not conducive to much more than small talk about the weather (18 inches of snow in northern SK!). So we needed to overcome the medium and figure out how to encourage big talk.
Now I’m reflecting on how we can get beyond the usual church small talk and into the big talk of deepening our relationships among our congregants. Even when we were in-person coffee hour after worship was mostly small talk. Although it also opened doors to bigger talk by times. I’ve been encouraging you to connect with one another while we’re apart. I’ve mentioned phone calls and driveway visits. Can I add another request to that? When you get together consider setting aside your views on the weather or the latest news, and spend some time listening to one another’s stories. Do some autobiography stuff, but also share some of your faith story. It’s a little risky and vulnerable to share your story, but it’s also profoundly connective. You’ll find you’ll really get to know people you’ve known for years. Start with some small talk, and then lean into some big talk. On a cold driveway it’ll warm you right up!
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