Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ah, to be in Mississippi now that August has come

Honored to be prepping for a visit to the Diocese of Mississippi next week for the 10th Annual Spiritual Renewal Retreat hosted by the diocese and their ministry to and with LGBT folks. Special treat to be looking forward to being with old (or I guess I should say "long time") friend Brian Seage ... now Bishop of Mississippi. Brian and I knew each other before either of us went to seminary and we were ordained priests together in January 1998. (AKA "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away!")

Anyway, in preparation for the retreat -- which I'm told will have 90 participants -- I've been spending a lot of time with the work of Malcolm Boyd and even if you're NOT planning to lead a retreat on claiming his legacy, I totally commend that to you as part of your summer reading and reflection. From the blurb I wrote for the PR on next week's retreat:
In 1965, Episcopal priest Malcolm Boyd published “Are You Running With Me, Jesus?” -- a book of prayers which fed the hunger of a generation of people who had given up on the church or anyone connected with it having anything relevant to say. His willingness to put his faith into action by marching to end segregation was a powerful witness to what former Presiding Bishop John Hines called “justice as the corporate face of God’s love.” And his example as an out-gay priest in a time when such a thing was practically unimaginable is an inspiration to all who work for the full inclusion of LGBT people in this church and in this country.

Fifty years later, Malcolm’s prayers and poems continue to inspire and challenge us as we work to make God’s love tangible, to abolish prejudice and oppression and to heal the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the church and in the world. In prayer and reflection, story and song we will claim the legacy of Malcolm Boyd as we align our lives with God’s love, justice and compassion. Come share in a time of spiritual renewal and refreshment in community as we discover together how God is calling us to run with Jesus.
I'm thrilled that my wife Lori is going to be able to join me for this one and add her tremendous gifts as a small group organizer and "process person" to our work together. Putting together the handouts we've framed the work around the metaphor of running the race ... hurdles included ... and I loved the subtitle "1965 Prayers for 2015 Pilgrims."

Stay tuned for more -- but do keep us and the good people of the Diocese of Mississippi in your prayers as we prepare to gather for this opportunity to retreat, reflect and renew. And give thanks for the work and witness of our brother Malcolm -- who continues to inspire us to run our race with as much grace and faithfulness as he ran his.

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