Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dear Friends,
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones well and enjoying the last bit of  summer.  It has been a hot one for sure! I have enjoyed being at the Jersey shore and am now happy to be back in Cranbury thinking about the coming program year with all of you.
This month I have begun a new spiritual practice and outreach into the community.  Time will tell how it works out, but I wanted to share it with you.  It is called “Free Prayer”….a title coined by Pastor Thomas Rusert of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Doylestown, PA.   Their church began this ministry last year.
So…what is “Free Prayer”—isn’t prayer always free?? Of course, but this signifies the “no strings attached” aspect of this ministry.  As practitioners of this ministry, we are there to listen first, to pray and to show God’s love.  It isn’t meant to coerce anyone into a particular way of thinking or believing about God, but to provide an intentional, prayerful, listening experience for those in need.  I am trusting that God will do the rest!  Of course, information about St. David’s will be available!
Why do this?? In the United States, there are many people who identity as “spiritual but not religious”.  How to reach these folks and show them that God loves them and wants to be present to them even when they don’t come to a church is something church-folk have been thinking about for quite a while.  This is one way to reach out beyond the walls of our church community and building and show that God is out in the marketplace, the coffee shop, the park, the world—just as Jesus did. 
When is this happening?? At this point, I have made a commitment to sit over at Teddy’s in Cranbury for an hour twice a month on Wednesday mornings                  (10:30-11:30).  I will wait and see how the Holy Spirit leads this endeavor before thinking much further than that.  But so far it has been a great experience.  I truly believe that witnessing to the reality of a loving God who is interested in ALL people’s lives no matter where they find themselves or who they are, and showing that we as a church are also interested in serving those people, is of great importance. 
Our diocese has started a podcast called “Optimism is Cool Again” and if you go to the Diocese of NJ website or Google the title you can find it.  I am part of the round table of clergy that are interviewed, and The Rev. Carol Anderson is also featured.  She mentions in one of her talks that if a leader wants to change the culture of their community, that leader has to show that he or she is willing to change also.  This is one of my attempts to lead the way for all of us out into the world, discovering where God is already working, showing God’s love for all and participating in God’s mission to our community.  Please pray for me as I continue to pray for all of you.
Blessings, Karin+