This past week, I attended the Presbyterian CREDO conference for recently ordained pastors. Over the course of the very full week, I was able to connect with 25 other recently ordained clergy through a series of lectures and activities led by a gifted an experienced team of faculty. The learning was rich, the activities were full, and the work was challenging. CREDO filled me with a renewed sense of purpose, reminded of God’s call in my life and God’s desire for my life, as I continue to serve Jesus Christ and you.

CREDO is program offered by the PC(USA). They sent me a great deal of material in preparation for CREDO – pre-conference work – to complete before I arrived for the week. We were also encouraged to make whatever arrangements were necessary so that our home congregations would be cared for in our absence, thus allowing us to be fully present and attentive to the work we would do at CREDO. I want to thank Pastor Steve and the rest of the staff at Sea Island for covering my bases while I was away. I also want to thank you for the gift of this week apart.
Several of you were praying for me during this past week, and I felt your prayers, support, and love. Over the course of CREDO, I explored who I am, and whose I am, paying attention to the reality that the most effective ministers are the ones who know themselves. This type of self-reflection can be difficult and even painful at times. I drew strength and courage as I thought of my church, this family of faith, which I love and am called to serve.

During CREDO, we began to develop a “Rule of Life.” The Rule consists of simple practices that we want to follow on a regular basis. These practices reflect and reinforce our core values. My Rule consists of practices that keep me connected with God and with the world. My Rule also consists of practices designed to help me take better care of myself while honoring my relationships and the gifts that God has given me that I do not often get the chance to utilize in my ministry.

I will continue to process my experiences at CREDO, even as I begin to live out my Rule. I am now in what is called, “The Bridge Year.” Next October, my cohort will reconvene for another week of CREDO. It will be an opportunity to continue the work we have begun this week, reflecting on the joys, successes, and challenges that we have encountered over the course of the year. Your prayers have sustained me up to this point, and I continue to solicit your prayers as I work through this Bridge Year. I plan to share further reflections and updates throughout the course of the year, but for now I want to reiterate once again my appreciation.

Thank you.

In Christ,
Jack