In 1987 I went to a workshop called "Making a Difference". Without being overly dramatic, here's what happened: I was seriously considering leaving the Episcopal priesthood when I went and what I got was my priesthood all new, transformed, never to be the same.
So I got involved with the group that sponsors the workshop: The Mastery Foundation and eventually became a leader of the workshop that altered my life so completely.
We have a workshop June 16-19 at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York. I was on a phone call with the other two leaders, Shane and Maggie, and our mentor and guru, Ann tonight and became so excited about what's waiting for me in just over two weeks that the transformation was re-declared for me. (That's workshop language, sorry, but it just means I was put back in touch with why I do this and have done it for so many years.)
Part of it was simply that I love the people in 'the work' (more jargon, sorry) so much. Part of it is that I know how much people can be transformed in their ministry from the workshop. Part of it was the humility I always feel when I watch those transformations.
Sometimes a single event can alter life. This is the one that altered mine. Only the birth of our two children and falling in love with Bern are bigger moments for me.
Also, I enrolled two people into the workshop, Garnet and Barbara, who belong to two of the three churches I serve. I've never been good at 'enrolling' (workshop language, sorry). What I've done is try to 'recruit' people. There have been people who I paid their cost to get them to come and asked them to pay me back how much it was worth. They all, I pleased to say, paid me back in full.
But this time I just told people what it meant to me and my life and ministry and that's all Garnet and Barbara needed to hear. Two others wanted to come but job and personal commitments wouldn't let them.
One of the things we, as leaders, promise the participants is this: we will treat you as if your commitments are greater than your frailties.
Everyone, it seems to me, needs someone to treat them that way.
That way lies transformation.
("Transformation" is workshop-speak, to distinguish what is available as opposed to 'change'. Change is arduous, painful and seldom successful. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic is 'change'. Transformation is finding a whole new way of being in life. Big difference.)
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