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From your Synod Executive

It has finally snowed in Southeast Michigan where I live. Since Christmas I have been complaining persistently to the Synod’s Office Manager, Heather Johnston, about the lack of snow. I read articles with headlines like “Midwest Pummeled by Snow” but the white stuff has avoided the Detroit area—until last Wednesday, when we got 7 inches of fluffy goodness.

Since I live in a condo complex, I don’t have to do any shoveling. I don’t have any kids in school, so I don’t worry about childcare on snow days. I can work from home as easily as I can from the office. Snow for me does not involve the headaches that it does for many of you, so I can simply look outside and enjoy. Everything is brighter; everything has put on its wintry coat. Everything is transformed.

This year I’ve been thinking about the need for grace to cover our churches the way that the snow covers the landscape. Our denomination, synod, presbyteries, and congregations are in a season where we lack a clear consensus on the best way to move toward more vibrancy. If it were obvious, we would be doing it! We’re in an adaptive leadership challenge where the answers aren’t obvious.

The uncertainty about the best way to move forward can lead to frustration with our leaders. Disagreements can lead to anger with each other. We care so deeply about our church bodies that tempers can flare. We need, instead, for grace to fall around and between us like snowflakes on the best day of the year for sledding. What would it be like for us to look at each other more brightly—to put on our gracious coat—and to think about how we might be transformed, together, into the body of Christ?

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow—with grace between us and over us! Your partner in ministry,

Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD Executive phone number 309-530-4578

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