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Inhabit: Practice. Presence. Place.

Today [and tomorrow], I’m attending the Inhabit Conference [#inhabitconf] at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology [formerly MHGS]. Inhabit’s big idea is to explore what it means and looks like as the church in North America returns to the practice of being locally rooted and how we can be present in the particular places where we are called to live and serve.

I’ll be posting some reflections from this time of teaching, learning and conversation. For tonight, here’s what I’ve got.  How are you re-imagining community where you live and serve?

Continue reading

What’s in your toolbox :: Part Deux

In the last edition of Channels we learned about communication tools that spanned the gamut. From electronic newsletter services to blogging and file organization, we looked at a good sampling of communication essentials. In this follow up edition, we’ll look at resources for live streaming, media editing and project management.

As mentioned in part one, this is merely a sampling of tried and tested tools you can use to keep up to speed with today’s technology. As churches and non-profits, I know we’re looking for tools that are affordable and if we can find them–free.

I’d love to hear about what you’re using. Send me a message or share a link online–let’s help one another out in swimming through this sea of information! Continue reading

Open my eyes, that I may see

We’re trying something new at church today to help our congregation understand one another better, to realize the rich diversity in one another’s stories and to hear the ways God has been working through each one of us. For now, we are calling this time in worship, This is my story.

Today was my turn. I admit I didn’t know what to say. My dad was the guest preacher this morning and he used today’s lectionary from John 9:1-42 about the man who was born blind from birth. As I listened to him expound on the ways that we as a corporate body have sometimes become spiritually blind to the injustices we witness—and like the parents of the blind man, and the neighbors and Pharisees who were not willing to speak up and speak out that it was Jesus who healed this man, we as a community of faith sometimes do not have the courage to proclaim where we see the work of Christ in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

The story I shared went like this: Continue reading

[not] all paths lead to ordination

This piece was written for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UMC’s newsletter, Channels.

I’m in that sweet demographic that the United Methodist Church, and frankly, other mainline denominations want in their pews (and pulpits?): Under 35. Female. Ethnic minority. You could call me a triple threat, though I can’t take credit that I had anything to do with that.

Unlike many of the young adults who have decided the Church just isn’t relevant, I still go. Regularly. I even chair a committee and am involved in conference level leadership. I feel like I have a place in the church. Gasp. Yes, it may have started because I was the token young person of color, but that’s moot. The point is that I said “yes” to some of these invitations to participate in various committees, events and worship experiences growing up, and though the invitations may not have meant much to me then, the opportunities were formative in preparing me for where I feel God is leading me today, muddy as that path may feel.

I’m in my second quarter of seminary at Seattle Pacific University pursuing my Masters in Business and Applied Theology (grad degree #3)–though I can still be persuaded to go the M.Div. route. Yes, SPU had a graduate program in theology. And it’s solid. Ask me about it sometime. I’ll even buy you coffee to talk about it. Continue reading

What’s in your toolbox?

This article was written for the Pacific Northwest Conference’s publication, Channels. To view this on their website, click here.

Let’s not kid ourselves. There is way too much information out there. It’s easy to get lost, inundated, bogged down so you feel like you don’t even know how to start sifting through the barrage of information we encounter daily, let alone decide how to mange it all.  Many of you have moved past the question of whether or not you’ll start tweeting, create a facebook page or start an e-newsletter. You’ve done that or are in the process. And just as you were figuring your way around blogs, facebook pages and podcasts, you’re learning there are even more communication tools at your disposal! How do you keep it all straight? You represent congregations and faith communities big and small. What tools can help you work smarter and more effectively?

I heard your plea. Or groan?
flickr user "cwt_ucla"

photo by flickr user, "cwt_ucla"

Here’s a sampling of basic tools you can use to keep up to speed with the changing (and sticking) technology. From eNewsletters to conference calls; blogging to file sharing; live streaming to media editing; project management to task management–you’ve got a smattering here of tools you’ll need to keep in your digital toolkit.

Use what you need, come back to the ones you don’t quite know much about. Find a friend and start exploring! Click on stuff. Don’t worry, you won’t break anything. Promise.

eNews + eCommunication :: Green is in. It’s time to start thinking about paperless communication solutions. This doesn’t mean completely doing away with paper newsletters. You are merely offering another opportunity for your community to receive timely communication about the great things happening in your congregation and faith community.

Constant Contact []
Constant Contact has been around the block. They’re a favorite email and event marketing solution for non profits and industry. If you subscribe to any of the Pacific Northwest Conference newsletters, you’ve received a product of Constant Contact. If you can prove your 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit, you can take advantage of their discounted pricing starting at $15/month.

MailChimp []

MailChip is a newer service, but I like it already. They’re hip, easy to use, and have a “Forever Free Plan” that allows you to store up to 2,000 email addresses and send out 12,000 emails a month. Not too shabby! Continue reading

Hi, I’m Reno

Driving down 5th is the only way to get to the freeway from my sister’s and brother-in-law’s house. I usually catch a red light on the corner as I approach the freeway entrance. Sometimes there’s someone waiting there—sometimes a couple people huddled together. They’ve made a makeshift cove under some trees, right along a fence that separates them from the small slope leading down to I-5. A wheelchair, blue tarp and some plastic bags serve as fixtures in their small space.


It was pretty late this particular evening. Close to 11pm. I didn’t expect anyone would be waiting on the corner with a sign, though as I approached the intersection, I quickly tried to recall what I had in my car that I might offer, just in case someone was there. Did I have any food? Spare change? (I never keep cash on me so that was unlikely) What could I share in case someone was there? Continue reading