Embracing Suspended Animation

The Flying Cortes
A Five Generation Family of Trapeze Artists
Happy May to my OHFUMC Family,

I grew up going to the circus as a child and was always spellbound by the Trapeze artists working their wonders in the air. This picture reminds me of where we are at right now as a church family. We are about to “let go” of our current pastoral leader (that would be me) and have yet to take hold of our new, to-be-appointed, permanent leader, Rev. Linda Tucker. We must acknowledge and honor our multiple thoughts, fears, hopes, and feelings as we go through this transition.
The truth is, we are currently living in “Suspended Animation” (as this image so accurately depicts). We are “in-between” two realities. This can be a very dis-orienting, de-stabilizing time for many. Feelings of uncertainty, mystery, suspense, and potential fears can have a heyday in our hearts and minds. We have all come to depend upon routines, familiarity, continuity, and consistency in order to function well in our community. These experiences and well-known expressions are not bad things. They help to stabilize us in a rapidly changing world.

I just want to write to acknowledge the realities of this transitional season and encourage us all to remember that everyone in our church family is impacted by this transition, even if in different ways. Suspended animation can lead to heightened tension, stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and isolation (or edginess). We are not always our “Best Self” when passing through big transitions. We need to help each other succeed in HOPE and in RADICAL HOSPITALITY (rolling out the red carpet as it were).
From my own ministry and chaplaincy experiences, let me offer us what I think could be a helpful approach for all of us to take at this time, to foster encouragement and hope for us all:
1. Speak tenderly to one another (Isaiah 40:2)
2. Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
3. Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
4. Let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10) 
5. Always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere (1 Corinthians 13:7)

As the famous and late Swiss Physician and author, Paul Tournier once said, 
“The experience of being in between; between the time we leave home and arrive at our destination; between the time we leave adolescence and arrive at adulthood; between the time we leave doubt and arrive at faith. It is like the time when a trapeze artist lets go of the bars and hangs in midair, ready to catch another support: it is a time of danger, of expectation, of uncertainty, of excitement, or extraordinary aliveness.”

I am hoping and praying and coming alongside us in this season of time in the hopes of “Extraordinary Aliveness.” This is what I expect (and want) the next chapter to be. Our Church leaders and staff are excited to cultivate a spirit of “readiness and resiliency” as we close one chapter with gratitude and open another one with hope!

As we transition to whatever is next, let’s all join in working towards that vision and reality of “Extraordinary Aliveness.” I have been deeply honored and humbled to serve among you and alongside you these past eight years. My sunset is the advent of Pastor Linda’s sunrise. And so, it has been for this church family for over 132 years, ministering under the leadership of 29 different pastors and preachers. Soon, we will receive #30! The story continues.
We live best when we express GRATITUDE for our past and HOPE for our future!

Pastor David 😊

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