I had no idea how many would come so I made a perk with 24 cups of coffee, bought a carton each of lemonade and iced tea, cut up a coffee cake, prepared a worship service (today is Holy Cross Day), bought a freshly baked loaf of sunflower rye bread for Communion, and waited. Well, out of 25 invitees, 3 showed up.
We read and discussed 1 Corinthians 1.18-24, had some nice fellowship together, and ended by going into the church and sharing the Lord's Supper.
I was frustrated and disappointed. Some had valid reasons for being away and they let me know about them. One pastor who sent his regrets wrote,
Even if only a few gather, I encourage your action of bringing the clergy together and hope you will strive to establish a sense of “family” within our Conference. I have concluded that our denomination is in danger of self destruction, not caused by issues, but, by the growing sense of separation from one another.He's a retired pastor and I'll take what he says as wisdom from one who has seen a lot and been through a lot. I guess I just have to not give up. The three who came thanked me greatly for inviting them and planning the morning. That's encouraging anyway.
We no longer care for, or are interested in each other. The rim has come off the wheel. While it would be easy to blame the lack of leadership direction and vision, I think it is much more fundamental. We are adrift because too many are paddling their own canoe with only the like minded in the boat. While one group calls the others "crazies," the other calls the other "heretics." We have stopped talking and have circled the wagons in different circles.
A gathering such as you have called is a mental health opportunity. However to unburden my soul I must know and trust my fellow clergy. Keep drawing us together. Unity can not be created by ignorance.