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December 2023 Newsletter

Updated: Mar 11

Reflect and Refine


During Advent I like to read the Gospel for the new liturgical year. Reading the Gospel of Mark, a chapter at a time, is VERY different from reading through any other book. Mark’s chapters are long and packed with action. Everything happens all at once. There’s no time to ponder the miracle of the moment because the story has already moved on to whatever is next. No wonder the disciples never understood what was going on—they didn’t have a moment to breath, let alone reflect and allow the miracles and the presence of God to settle in and transform them. They were caught up in a whirlwind.


Maybe you can relate. Maybe that’s your pace during the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany-Family-Friends-Parties-Visits-Concerts-endless list of could and should-time.


Didn’t Luther say something like – on normal days I pray for an hour, but on busy days I pray for 3 hours --? Busyness makes time in prayer and reflection even more precious.


I don’t know about you, but I’m going to find some time–probably in the grace period between Christmas and New Years Day – to pray and think, to reflect and refine. There are a few things I want to learn from 2023 before rushing headfirst into 2024. I don’t want to misunderstand what God was up to right in front of me because I didn’t stop long enough to notice.


Here are my questions for 2023:

  • What did I learn from things that went well?

  • What did I learn from things that didn’t go as well as I would have liked?

  • Where was/is the Spirit moving?

  • What surprised me?

  • What do I need to let go of for 2024?


Some evening soon you’ll find me in front of the Christmas tree, a Hot Toddy, and a piece of fruitcake on the coffee table, journal in my lap and pen in hand. Once I’ve reflected on my questions, I’ll have a refined sense of what God might be leading me into in 2024. I invite you to do something similar.

Did you notice? There's something new on our website!

Feel free to take us up on this offer --

and invite your colleagues to do the same!

It was in the newsletter and the bulletin and announced in worship, but somehow people still say they don’t know anything about it.



  Come to this FREE Zoom workshop to find out

and discover how to fix it.


Choose between morning or evening sessions:

Thursday MORNINGS January 11th and 18th from 10 am to 11:30 am,


Thursday EVENINGS January 11th and 18th from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.

We have a couple of things in development that

(hopefully) will be ready by February or March.


For Congregations:

How come I didn’t hear about that?

Communications skills that work.

This zoom workshop will be transformed into a leadership development tool for you to use with your congregation council!  It’ll be three one-hour sessions that can be offered as a retreat, or three stand alone sessions. 

For Synods:

Partnership Possibility Conversation Kit.

How can your synod staff collaborate with each congregation to support their next faithful steps in God’s mission? This kit will help. It’s goal is to create the opportunity for an honest discussion on the strengths and capacities of the congregation. Out of this conversation will come enough light to see the path the congregation might take and the way the synod might support that direction. The team working on this includes: Bishops Shelley Bryan Wee, Joy Mortensen-Wiebe and Dave Nagler, A2Bs Marie Leafblad, and Kris Totzke, as well as input from all three of us at LtR, though I’m the lead on the project (Marj).

How to disappoint people on Christmas Eve.

Yep, I actually did this, and survived. It was worth it.

Click the button below to read more.

Blog includes links to an analytical meditation.


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