Following the Heartbeat of God…to Brockton!

 Source: iPhone X, CANAAN HESS 

Source: iPhone X, CANAAN HESS 


“What’s next?” Well, I’m glad you asked.

This week has started a week of transitions for me:

For starters…

I finished my time on campus at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA, where I’ve been for 3 and a half years…. I will be graduating in May next year, and walking across the stage with the class of 2018!

Then I turned 26…

I’ve received a lot of love from a lot of people and so I really want to thank all of you! And if you’re wondering what to do for my birthday/Christmas, look no further than here. (If you have questions, let me know!)

Some part of me still has a hard time wrapping my mind around that number, but I think in time I’ll get used to it. I will say that I really got used to saying “25.” (I mean, it’s such a smooth sounding age.)

Every year since I was 23 has had a theme.. Here’s a short recap:

Age 23 (2015): The Year of Saying No

I was in a place where I was pouring out a lot but I wasn’t growing much spiritually, so it was mostly about dialing back from ministry and taking time to grow, learn and focus on school.

Age 24 (2016): The Year of Saying Yes

I am so proud of the growth I experienced in that year. I think everyone should have a year of saying yes, maybe like, once every five years!

Age 25 (2017): Following the Heartbeat of God

I will say that themes don’t tend to end so abruptly. I am still living into aspects of each of them. This theme is about empathy, prayer and being open to the ministry of peacemaking and presence…still living into it.

Age 26 (2018): ….?

So I’ve really been thinking though what year 26 and 2018 will represent. I don’t have a catchy phrase yet…But I have been fascinated by the idea of self-care as resistance. I have a heart for creating safe spaces, especially for people who carry a lot of emotional weight and stress: emphatic people, social justice warriors…people who spend time caring and fighting for others, myself included. So I want to focus on developing more self-compassion and I want to invite others into that journey. With that also comes a need to continue to preach this message to as many Christians as possible: Our embodied lives matter to God. Therefore, caring for what happens in our own bodies and how other bodies are treated are important. I am fascinated by spiritual practices and sacraments — lived religion. I’ve spent 3.5 years studying and thinking about religion…so this seems pretty natural.

From Ferguson, Missouri…

To explain where I am heading in life next, I have to dial back to an amazing experience I had this year in Ferguson. Ferguson led me to the reality that I wanted to follow the heartbeat of God to where people are hurting. Where there is desperation, pain and a sense of hopelessness. Places where the words of God’s good news need not only be preached but lived.

Since I became a Christian and even as I’ve studied in school, I’ve contained to love scripture and the Jesus of the Bible. What perplexes me more than anything are Christians who don’t look like Jesus. Who don’t live like Jesus. Who don’t associate with the people Jesus associated with. Who hide inside the four walls of churches, singing loudly about how great God is — like batteries full of power, just sitting inside of the package — letting His power go to waste while there is a world of hurt out there — ugh, I could go on…

But I love church — and I held on to a little hope and that little hope multiplied in Ferguson thanks to people like Montague Williams — my professor who led the trip — Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould and Rev. Rebecca Ragland —

— thanks to churches like Wellspring Church, in Ferguson city, with their Center for Social Empowerment, my imagination about my life’s future changed. I was able to see and vocalize a particular dream —

I began to imagine what it might be like to be a pastor of a small church and run a non-profit.

Returning from Ferguson, I was certain about ministry and certain about activism. I knew that I had a lot to learn and I needed to see more of what that looked like. And so that leads me…

…to Brockton, Massachusetts!

Starting in January I will be part of a church plant in Brockton, called Brockton Covenant Church!

God has placed some amazing people in my life and one of those people is Pastor Dave Capozzi. He’s kind of a shining star.

We share a similar heart for the Kingdom of God and the work of activism. We believe in a vision of the Kingdom that levels systems of separation, and so I always pictured being part of a church that was built around fellowship, with everyone having a seat at the table. That’s what Sundays look like at BCC!

If you’d like to visit, click below or like our Facebook page by clicking here.

 Source: iPhone X, CANAAN HESS

Source: iPhone X, CANAAN HESS

 

I will be serving as a pastoral intern and living in the city. I am looking forward to it, because I believe in what this church is about: from our semi-acoustic services with an appreciation for laments when needed to our discussions on power, privilege and empire.

To the BCC community: To those I have met and haven’t met yet, I am looking forward to serving all of you! It was so important in my decision to join BCC that I feel a sense of belonging and I definitely feel it there. The past few months, I have loved seeing and experiencing how this community does life together in such an authentic way. I am thankful for the hospitality and warmth I’ve already received from the families and individuals I have connected with so far. I don’t know much about what internships should feel like — probably like work — but I feel like the luckiest woman alive, because this is a dream come true for me!

Thank you!

I have a weird way of processing gratitude sometimes. Sometime it causes me to freeze in my steps, think about my life and wait in amazement.

I’ve done that at least twice, writing this.

I started this blog to be about my journeys — intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, what have you. It’s always amazing to me when other people read what I write and are blessed by it. In many ways, I am writing out my salvation with fear and trembling.

Writing helps me believe. It helps me to see where God is working in my life. It helps me to collect blessings from the spaces in life that seem like anything but. So if you’ve journeyed with me and your eyes have glossed over every word I have written this year — Thank you!

See you in 2018!

 Source: iPhone X, CANAAN HESS

Source: iPhone X, CANAAN HESS


Originally posted on Medium.com on December 16, 2017.

Rose PercyComment