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Sustainable Mission, September 2023

By September 21, 2023No Comments

Transitions are Opportunities for Transformation 


The more time I spend among you as your Minister for Sustainable Mission, the more I become aware, with all my senses, that this congregation has a history and practice of resiliency and renewal. We are in such a time, and the Spirit is moving among us, through us, and at the edges of our community.  

Recently, a friend in the midst of a cross-country move, shared this wisdom: 

“Transitions are evidence of your willingness to continue on the path of life’s journey. They’re opportunities for choices, growth, revelations, deepened self-understanding, stronger relationships, new connections and so much more.” 

Transitions are part of personal and organizational lifecycles. Transformation is optional. 

Deacon Rex and I were talking earlier this week about how transformation in its many forms requires our own agency; we must be willing and active participants in the process.  

The act of everyday living in the midst of a transition is an act of faith, in and of itself. It is in this journey that one is made new through deciding what to carry forward, what to leave behind or let go of, and by showing up in the fertile space of ‘the yet to be.’  It is a time and space that is both full of hope and uncertainty. Sometimes this fertile space can seem like the desert. God reminds us that this wilderness is not barren, but even while being foreign to us, has everything we need for nourishment and for our flourishing, including the Spirit’s accompaniment. It is in the uncertainty that we have a fresh opportunity to let go of our desire for control and whatever else has held us captive, to make room for what is new and has not yet unfolded. It is a time for practicality AND for dreaming.  

How have transitions in your life led to transformation? What new life are you experiencing now as a result of a challenging transition?  How might the St. John’s community be of support and accompaniment to you in a current transition?  For those in the wider community? 

At St. John’s we are in this marvelous and mysterious time and space, ‘toddling’ around, moving our hands along dimly lit walls toward the bright future that God is inviting us into, for the sake of one another and the unfolding Kingdom of God. 

How can we be willing participants in this opportunity for transformation in the lifecycle of this congregation?  

It begins by saying YES to participating and by surrendering ourselves to God. May it be so. 

In Christ, 

Rena Turnham, Minister for Sustainable Mission   


P.S. In case you missed it, Canon Blair Pogue, Missioner for Vitality and Innovation, was with us for the adult forum last Sunday. You can watch her presentation here: She addressed many of the cultural forces at work that affect us at St. John’s and as the Episcopal Church in Minnesota (ECMN). She also shared about the Faithful Innovation process, how a handful of ECMN congregations are choosing transformation. We will be using this process as part of our journey to discover sustainable mission at St. John’s.