Meetings by the Rev. Ben Robertson

One of my favorite lecturers in seminary once said to me, “I love to teach, I get paid to go to meetings.”   

Meetings. The word itself is so … evocative. Meetings can be necessary evils, inspiring collaborations, or infernal slogs. Sometimes they are compulsory information delivery vehicles where a company or parish receives reports from their leadership, and such meetings are necessary for transparency and an informed community. Sometimes meetings provide a space for brainstorming and the creation of ideas, the quality of which could not have been generated by individuals. Sometimes, unfortunately, meetings can devolve into unorganized meanderings, spiraling out of control until any hope of productivity is lost and most of the participants are at their wits’ end. And sometimes, a meeting can evolve into something very profound. 

I recently attended a meeting at another parish to plan for a new collaborative ministry. The mission was clear, the plan was sound, and logistics were in place. “OK,” I thought, ” Good plan. Tight meeting. Let’s go.” I prematurely collected my things. But then, the attendees were invited to participate in a trust exercise, to further the bonds between the two parishes. I must confess, I may have rolled my eyes more than a bit. I have participated in far too many such exercises that resulted in nothing but feel-good fluff. But, in this instance, thanks to the guidance of a sharp facilitator, the members of the two parishes began to share very real parts of their dreams, their visions, and their stories. Trust was not only gained, but our clarity of mission moved from the head, into the heart and soul. While our sharing may have taken some significant time and required significant mental energies, the result was an infant ministry with exponentially higher potential for success. 

Eucharist is much more than bread and wine. The heart of the sacrament is our story: the story of our relationship with God. And when we share our stories with others, when we trust enough to be vulnerable with colleagues and friends, the result is nothing less than communion and the friendship, the community, or the collaboration is deeply blessed. We can share our story in so many ways, in so many venues here at the Chapel: around the coffee cart on Sunday mornings, sitting at table during Wednesday Night Supper, during Wednesday Morning Bible Study or the Friday Men’s Group, knitting in the Library during Sunday School, in a Foyer Group or at a Young Adult event, and the list goes on an on.

Tell your story at the Chapel. Hear the stories of others. Hallow that time. For the Spirit is present, and whatever the endeavor, we are greater because of the sharing.