Tending the garden: experiments in church

Spring reminds us of renewal, but in our busy lives there’s so much to miss: the first blue blooms of plumbago appearing in the park; the redbud’s pink flowers giving way to red-heart shaped leaves; yellow explosions of esperanza greeting us in the morning.

This is also the time of the year when we discover what didn’t make it through winter. What garden experiments didn’t survive? (My lavender are still just dry twigs.) What fall plantings didn’t bloom?
(Something ate all the ground cover I planted!) What trees are ailing in this drought? (Nope… not one plum on our Japanese plum tree.)  Spring’s renewal might also be a time to recognize what things we need to let go of.

We’ve been doing a lot of experimental plantings in our church life, and as I write this (attending the UU Buddhist Convocation at Mission San Luis Rey in California) I’m using some time to contemplate what things have bloomed and which haven’t yielded the promised fruit. For example, as much as I enjoyed projecting our hymns this past year, constant technical difficulties have me questioning if it supports the high-quality and consistent worship experience you have asked for. Rather than using a classroom projector, maybe it’s time to wait until we can do it right! On the other hand, the covenant group program has rooted itself firmly in our church culture and shows great signs of growth. Other plantings (such as jazz Sundays, the pastoral care team, and our expanded adult education classes) are sprouting up all over campus. What a garden we have to tend!

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