Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thoughts about transformation -- Sr. Warden's Remarks from the Annual Meeting Eucharist

Sr. Warden Lorraine Kee addresses
the Annual Meeting Eucharist
I’ve been thinking a lot about transformation lately. I’m talking about Transformation, or change, in first, my personal and work life, and second, in the life of this Cathedral.

I’ll talk first about transformation in my personal and work life.

I earn a living as a digital project manager. I help people at SSM Health by maintaining and building their websites. And I spent all day yesterday at UMSL in a graduate-level class on search engine marketing.

I’m taking the class because I love learning. Learning is fun and liberating and empowering.

But, beyond that, I’m taking the class so I can survive and even thrive a few more years in the workplace. The talented, younger folks I work with are “digital natives.” They grew up in a world where computers were in their homes from the get-go. Posting in Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr come naturally to them.

I’m what they call a “digital immigrant” – someone who didn’t grow up like my colleagues. I can remember mobile phones the size of a shoe! I finally got rid of my landline phone two years ago. I have to keep up with the digital natives if I am to keep my standard of living for a few more years.

I don’t mind telling you I had mixed emotions sitting in that class for eight hours Saturday.

I felt:

Satisfaction. I was familiar with most of the material.

Exhilaration. I was energized at learning new things.

Fear. The teacher was moving through the material at a very fast pace, leaving me little time to process what he was saying. (You process a little slower as you get older or maybe it’s that I have much more information to process.)

I felt vulnerable. I’m 55 years old. Why was I putting myself through this? What if I failed?

So what does all that have to do with the Cathedral?

I feel many of those same emotions as I think about the future of our faith community and the transformation we are now facing.

I feel:

Satisfaction. I love this place. I love the familiar and the new faces. Our sacred space. That we are engaged with the world around us. That justice has returned, with renewed energy, to our conversations.

Exhilaration. I leave this place each Sunday energized and ready to meet the world, with everything it throws at me, head-on.

Frustrated. No matter how well we did with fundraising, we fell short of our goals for participation and dollars.

I feel fear and vulnerability. What will become of our faith community, our building, our downtown neighbors, our hopes and dreams?

When in doubt, I pray.

I pray for people, for vision. What and who is God calling us to be? Those thoughts ran through my head last Thursday when our Chapter, for the second straight meeting, was wrestling with that question during our budget deliberations. We are all trying to figure that out.

I’d like to share part of a reading from Romans that spoke to me last week.

From Romans:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]”

The reading leaves me, after all the events of this week, feeling another emotion.

Mainly I feel Hope, at the opportunity for us all to transform this community and to be transformed by it. On behalf of the Chapter, I’d like to ask you to join us on this journey of transformation.

Along the way, we may alternately feel frustrated and exhilarated.

Still, for me, and I hope for you, our journey forward can be about hope. About not just surviving but thriving. About not fearing but forging ahead and imagining and living the possibilities.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve you. I will do my best as your senior warden.

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