The Rev. Amy McCreath is currently the Priest-in-Charge at Church of the Good Shepherd, Watertown. She is also responsible for contextual education at EDS class, and has EDS team that is currently participating in LDI's Formation Program. Recently, LDI has begun facilitating vestry retreats, and Rev. Amy was one of our first facilitators. Below, she reflects on her experience as an LDI facilitator.
Uncertainty. It's always there. The ground is always shifting a bit beneath us, whether we are aware of it or not. We cannot control everything, whether we like it or not. Are Heraclitus said so long ago, "There is nothing permanent except change."
In March I was asked to facilitate a vestry retreat on behalf of LDI. The vestry was fully engaged in the learning and conversation, throughout the day. But the part of the day that felt like it had the most energy was our discussion of uncertainty. LDI's definition of leadership emphasizes that our work together always happens in the midst of uncertainty. My sense was that even as I was writing the word uncertainty on the white board, people were internally sighing in relief. "Yes. Thank you for naming that! I thought I was the only one who had a sense that things are shifting around here!"
The definition gave us space for conversation. "What is uncertain here, in this community, in our church, in our world? What are the things we cannot completely control that impact our work as a vestry?" We made a long list. We made room for a shared sense of vulnerability -- a space necessary before we could understand what tools in our toolkit were helpful and what more we needed to learn.
For this particular vestry, our contemplation of uncertainty made room for a deeper commitment to the practice of one-to-one conversation. Deep listening and strengthening relationships were claimed by the group as leadership skills in a way they had not seen before. They left a little less worried about "holding it all together," and a bit more prepared to hold together through it all.