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There’s Always Room for One More

May 5, 2017

Powerful reminder, especially these days… it isn’t OUR table and Jesus isn’t a WALL!

Jake Owensby

They said it was going to be a retreat. I was skeptical. Retreats offer spiritual exercises and spans of quiet time designed to nurture insight and to encourage renewal. By contrast, our weekend together was shaping up to be a blood-letting.

The vestry and clergy of our large suburban parish gathered at a Methodist Conference Center for what was billed as a time of visioning led by a highly-paid consultant. Along with our polo shirts and Bermuda shorts, some participants dragged along seething resentments and others smuggled in poorly concealed anxieties.

Tensions between the rector and the lay leadership had been mounting since before I had arrived as a newly minted priest the previous summer. A couple of assisting priests and I were loyal to our rector.

We recognized that he struggled with administrative tasks and delivered sloppy sermons. His vision for the parish was vague and uninspiring. And yet…

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