Rev. Karen Hernandez at Sawtooth
For the past decade, I’ve lived no more than a mile from my office and have been appointed to a single community. That all changed on July 1! With a roughly 20-minute drive to/from the office and much longer car trips on a pretty regular basis, I’m finding that I have more time to listen. I’ve never been one to listen to much music in the car, so I’ve been finding other wonderful things to listen to while I’m between where I’ve been and where I’m going. So, I’ve just become a fan of podcasts. (“The Liturgists” is a favorite!) Other times, I know I need to listen within, to dig deeper in what I’m sharing with God and to listen more intently for what God is saying to me. (So far, I’m doing this pretty well while driving—I think!) I also did a lot of listening to God and to my own heart during my recent planning retreat at Sawtooth Camp, which happens to be a favorite listening place of mine.
While serving local churches, it was invaluable to me to have colleagues who would listen as I shared my frustrations, dreams, questions, hurts, and joys. Colloquy gatherings, a covenant group, mentoring (formal and otherwise), and friendships with respected colleagues have given me opportunities to learn while listening and while being heard.
I want to listen to our Sage District pastors. Especially now, while I’m very much learning about this job and the local churches with which I’m less familiar, listening to pastors share about their ministries is a real gift to me. At this time a year ago, Gwen Drake was conducting one-on-ones with all of the Sage District pastors. I’m not scheduling anything that formal this summer, but I also don’t want to miss opportunities for connecting one-on-one with those who are leading congregations.
(Recognize this fine pastor, pictured above? Rev. Ralph Lawrence had some things to say that I needed to hear. He scheduled a meeting and became my first Sage District visitor in the new office at the Amity Campus of Cathedral of the Rockies!)
I’m making an effort to let pastors know when I’m passing by their towns and churches, offering to stop and spend some time with them so I can listen to the stories of personal trials and celebrations in ministry, congregational challenges and opportunities, and whatever it is that needs to be shared. Just last week I heard the Parish Collective folks ask me and others time and again, “What is God up to here?” Listening to those answers is amazing!
You also don’t have to wait for me to offer. You are welcome to text (208-697-4510) or email (email@example.com) me to let me know that you have something to share, a story to tell, an idea to try out, or something that’s heavy on your heart. If you can tell me what God is up to you your life/ministry/congregation/community, I want to hear it! We’ll schedule a time when I can really listen to you.
Rev. Karen Hernandez, Sage District Superintendent