By Meghan Hatcher
I recently had the opportunity to break bread with a woman who was part of the pilot storytelling group that ended last April. Over the months she participated in the group and afterward, we gathered multiple times for coffee and happy hour to talk about experiences in the group and process life together. This most recent visit came with an unexpected blessing as she shared with me the ways the storytelling group experience continues to bear fruit in her life and relationships.
She shared a story of a recent date that involved more vulnerability and candidness than she typically allows herself when first meeting someone. She feels this is a direct result of the storytelling group and the ways that experience continues to encourage her to be brave and share more openly with other people rather than presenting a very guarded version of herself. She also mentioned that the storytelling group invited her to explore areas of her life she had not previously tapped into and she’s seen reconciliation in relationships where it was longed for and needed.
As I developed the format this storytelling ministry would take, a question that lingered was how the participants would engage the experience after the final storytelling event. It is enormously encouraging to hear that, at least for this woman, the storytelling group not only gave her space to be more self-reflective about her life story, but also equipped her with a set of skills that can be applied in a variety of situations. In this way, the learnings, growth and community the storytelling group participants experienced and created together continue to bear fruit for months and years into the future. Like seeds scattered on ready soil, this ministry takes firm root in each participant’s life. Thanks be to God.
By Tiffany Brooks
We've been moving at the speed of light lately, so much so that I forgot to catch everyone up. We have a published paper now on our work with Food Apartheid, that was published by the International Academic Forum, which is super exciting. We also scored some really dope partnerships with the University of MD: College Park as well as University of Minnesota, however, I'm at that point of tension again where things are moving quickly, but it's not the right things, well in my opinion. With ordination approaching etc.. I just want to be focused and prepared for ministry, focused vision LLC, school, and to function like a normal human. We are still forging partnerships, praying for a school testing site and funds for the software we need a long with the bandwidth to conduct our research. We also have had some not so great partnerships, but I guess that's all a part of the process.
By Meghan Hatcher
Many in the United Methodist Church describe this present moment in the denomination as Holy Saturday. I agree. The tomb is too dark and the stone is too heavy, not yet rolled away to reveal new life. The General Conference of the UMC failed gravely this week and in so doing left catastrophe in its wake. If I had the words for it, there is so much I could say about this particular moment and the decades of anguish and pain leading up to it. But what I will focus on in these paragraphs is how the tomb of this Holy Saturday still contains Christ. If I, and my LGBTQ+ siblings, are inside the tomb at least it is good to know that Christ is in here with us.