Saturday, April 10, 2004

A Different Kind of Anniversary

It was a year ago that Wendy & I flew west for a weekend of meetings with all of the present and former pastoral couples that were ever involved at Eastgate Vineyard Christian Fellowship. The entire focus of the weekend was on reconciling relationships between pastors, and between pastors and congregation.

I can't go into details, since I'd have to name names and explain some knotty situations, which would be totally inappropriate. Suffice it to say that a lot of healing, restoration, and forgiveness swirled around a group of six couples, during some very intense, but very healing, days at a retreat centre. There was also a reconciliation service at the climax of the weekend, Saturday night, where many current and former members of the church joined with us, and were led by a local Anglican pastor in a very significant Eucharist celebration together.

That was a year ago. Awesome weekend. Something Wendy & I had hoped could happen, but hadn't really believed was possible -- that churches and pastors would admit weakness and/or faults, and deal with them in a reconciliatory fashion. Let's face it, that doesn't happen often.

But once, at least, it did happen. Wendy & I are humbly grateful to the Lord to have been a part of it. Like many of the others involved, we had forgiven and let grievances go many years earlier (not wanting to become slaves to bitterness), but it was incredible to actually be able to get face-to-face with others to say, and hear, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me."

I wish I could say more, but I respect the confidentiality that the sacredness of that weekend requires, so you'll just have to take my word for it: There are some real, live, healing stories out there of the people of God "getting it right", even if it required (and it did!) a lot of humbling of self and repenting to others.

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