​It sounds counterintuitive, but Los Ranchos pastors and pastoral candidates found great help for “Returning to their Souls” this week from three Ministry Relations Officers of the Presbyterian Foundation. We focused on the “why” of ministry, our calling and purpose, and how to build practices in our daily lives that connect us with ourselves and our God. And, yes, we even did some deep breathing exercises.

The speakers reminded us that “starting with the why,” is how pastors and Sessions inspire action in our congregations so that we can take a more active part in loving the world back to wholeness. This deep understanding of ourselves as disciples, and our roles as leaders, must be clung to with otherworldly intention. The surprise was that this intention often looks like rest, emptying ourselves, and surrendering to God’s will, so we can become more attentive to the concrete and unique ways God is leading each of our congregations to embody God’s love and justice in our respective communities.

I’ll share more about the retreat in other places, but I thought I’d mention something fun that happened during our two days away. Steve Wright of St. Peter’s by the Sea in Huntington Beach has always hoped to meet Serra Retreat center neighbor Dick Van Dyke on one of his walks, and he finally did. Dick was nice enough to chat with Steve and take a selfie with him, which was a super happy photo of the two of them, so we included Dick in this year’s group photo!