Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Workshop

I got back yesterday from a Making a Difference Workshop. Those workshops are sponsored by The Mastery Foundation. I was a participant in one in, I think, 1987 (though linear time confounds me). Anyway, I went to it after burning out, like crash and burn to third degree burns, as an Episcopal priest. I went to get my head around renouncing my priestly vows and moving on with my life. And what occurred was that I got my priesthood back, all shiny and new, transformed into something that would, from that time until now and as long as I live, give me joy and wonder and make me better at it than I ever thought I could be.

So I hung around the workshop, being an assistant and making people crazy since there was lots about the workshop that made me crazy. And somewhere in there, I became a leader-in-training and then a leader and now, due to attrition and death, I am probably the Senior Leader of the workshops. I've led more than I can remember (given my linear time problem) in places like Seattle and DC and South Bend and Minnesota and Ireland (half a dozen times) and Connecticut and, this week, in Queens. I can't be accurate but I think I must be around 35 workshops by now (it could be 25 or 45 since I'm so lost in time!)

Here's something you need to know: (I can't produce the workshop for you in print, but I can say this) it begins, after some introductory stuff, with the participants introducing themselves so they can connect and become a community. And it ends with them re-introducing themselves as their declaration of 'who they are in the matter of their ministry. The first time they introduce themselves I am filled with humility and wonder and amazement by 'who they are' and how powerful and important and vital they are and  how much difference they make in the world.

The wonder and, mostly, the humility, consumes me over the three days I lead the workshop. And when they re-introduce themselves at the end, given what they've experienced and how they've found transformation, I have goose bumps and tears and can hardly breathe from realizing the honor and grace that I have experienced just being in their presence for those three days.

This one turned me inside out and upside down with joy and humility and wonder. What a privilege and honor it was to be with those 25 people and have a hand, in some way, in the transformation of their lives and ministries.

I've not been good at enrolling people in the workshop. I was hesitant to suggest I had and knew something someone else might long for or lean into or need.

But now I'm ready to share the experience in a way that might enliven and engage and make others curious to know how they might be a part of it.

Every time I lead a Making a Difference workshop, I am made new. And, I believe, those who are participants experience a 'newness' as well.

I want to make that happen for as many people as I can for as long as I live.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.