From Your Executive: February 23

From your Synod Executive,

It has finally snowed in Southeast Michigan where I live. Since Christmas I have been
complaining persistently to the Synod’s Office Manager, Heather Johnston, about the
lack of snow. I read articles with headlines like “Midwest Pummeled by Snow” but the
white stuff has avoided the Detroit area—until last Wednesday, when we got 7 inches of
fluffy goodness.

Since I live in a condo complex, I don’t have to do any shoveling. I don’t have any kids
in school, so I don’t worry about childcare on snow days. I can work from home as
easily as I can from the office. Snow for me does not involve the headaches that it does
for many of you, so I can simply look outside and enjoy. Everything is brighter;
everything has put on its wintry coat. Everything is transformed.

This year I’ve been thinking about the need for grace to cover our churches the way that
the snow covers the landscape. Our denomination, synod, presbyteries, and
congregations are in a season where we lack a clear consensus on the best way to
move toward more vibrancy. If it were obvious, we would be doing it! We’re in an
adaptive leadership challenge where the answers aren’t obvious.

The uncertainty about the best way to move forward can lead to frustration with our
leaders. Disagreements can lead to anger with each other. We care so deeply about
our church bodies that tempers can flare. We need, instead, for grace to fall around
and between us like snowflakes on the best day of the year for sledding. What would it
be like for us to look at each other more brightly—to put on our gracious coat—and to
think about how we might be transformed, together, into the body of Christ?

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow—with grace between us and over us!
Your partner in ministry,


Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
phone number 309-530-4578