Thanks so much for reading this month‘s news from The Initiative, a community committed to “walking in deeper friendship with Jesus and his followers, so that the love of Christ might exceed all divisions.” We do this primarily through prayer, sharing of our lives, and proactive work for greater unity. 

This month, I’m sharing about a retreat and a cohort, talking about books and inviting all of you to pray for the Chapter Launch gathering that will be taking place starting this Monday.

A Retreat and a Cohort

Many thanks to those of you who were praying for my time away at St. Meinrad’s Abbey the end of May for a two-day retreat with like-hearted Christian unity folk (picture above). We were a wildly diverse group (Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal, Methodist, Evangelical, Baptist, Anglican, Churches of Christ) brought together because of this odd longing that we each had to see more of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 (“May they be one…”) become a reality.
It was a deeply refreshing time of prayer (with one another and the Benedictine community there), meditative time in Scripture, and hearing about the various kinds of creative unity work folk are doing. Most especially for me, I was grateful for a number of long, encouraging conversations. I came away once again renewed in my calling and my work with The Initiative. Special thanks to our friends at Glenmary Home Missioners for making all of it possible.

     At the beginning of June, Elizabeth Woodard (a member of our Leadership Council) and I started what will be a year-long cohort journey (picture above)with another very diverse group of clergy and lay ministers from the greater Boston area, hosted by our UniteBoston friends. The purpose of the cohort is to explore the theology, practice and heart posture of Christian unity, with the expressed goal of “developing a discipleship curriculum and learning pathway for individuals and groups to learn about embodying and nurturing Christian unity in their own contexts by being ambassadors of reconciliation and repair.”
     I’m particularly excited about the practical nature of what we’ll be doing together. It’s always encouraging to build friendships, but even more so to work together on something that could have a multiplicative effect. I’m looking forward to sharing with you all some of what we’re learning and what we’re working on over this next year. 

Chapter Launch Gathering – pray for our time together!

     Beginning with lunch this Monday (the 17th), twenty of us from around the country will be together for 48 hours to experience encounter across difference, examine the core “way” and practices of encounters across difference, and develop skills at hosting encounters across difference – as well as discerning the ways local chapters can best nurture the growth of “love greater than division.” We’ll be doing these things together as we pray, worship, read Scripture reflectively, hear one another’s stories, and press further into the way and practices of our community and consider how to invite others to live more deeply into missional ecumenism.
     Please do be praying for this time – I believe it will be significant in determining what The Initiative will be and do over the next few years. 

Resource of the Month: Summer Reading

     I’ve started on my summer reading list and thought you all might enjoy seeing a few of the titles that are on it. I still find reading to be an important part of my learning and formation, and as I’ve gotten older I’m trying to read more broadly. The books here are by authors from three different streams of Christian tradition, plus one from a different faith tradition (Priya Parker).

What are you reading that you’ve learned from or been formed by? Feel free to share it with me in an email or post it to our Facebook community page.

Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read this update. I’m also deeply grateful for those of you who pray, give generously, and send notes of encouragement (or even challenge!).
One of the verses we’ll be focused on at the gathering is from the end of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “Welcome one another, just as Christ has welcomed you” (Rom. 15:7). May you experience that ‘welcome’ from Jesus this next month, even as you extend it to others.

Yours in Christ’s Love,
       Scott Brill
       Executive Director