News from AllianceQ: November 2021

Fall colors and Colors of Hope: Reflections from the EDM

I’ve been reading Fall Mixed Up by Bob Rackza with my toddler.

“Every Septober, Every Octember, Fall fills my senses with scenes to remember… Bears gather nuts. Geese hibernate. Squirrels fly south in big figure eights.”

She doesn’t know all the references but my daughter thinks the book is funny. It’s silly and it helps me laugh at the end of a long day, near the end of a couple long years that have been all mixed up.

Is it Nocember or Devember or…?

Did I pay the preschool? Who is picking Josie up from preschool? There’s no preschool today? What day is it?!

The mix-ups are real and frequent. To be fair, my spouse works nights and has rotating shifts so her schedule complicates our routine. I’m a creature of habit and I like routine but very little has been routine. Several months ago — too many months ago — I borrowed someone’s brilliant phrase, “I’m ready for precedented times.”

As we prepare our annual update (coming soon to an inbox, mailbox and screen near you!), I celebrate many joys. I lament many challenges. And I grieve many losses. Personally more than professionally. My family has experienced much too much loss this year.

In April I tattooed “tear soup” on my thigh. Yes, I have a tattoo of soup. Tear Soup: it’s another (children’s) book. I give the book to adults when they experience loss. From Goodreads:

“In this modern-day fable, a woman who has suffered a terrible loss cooks up a special batch of ‘tear soup,’ blending the unique ingredients of her life into the grief process.”
How have you navigated the ups and downs? How has your ministry managed the muddle?

Examining our ministry: What has the Alliance done well? How can the Alliance improve its ministry?

Our leaders will gather virtually for a Council Retreat November 14-17 to explore these questions and identify our values in order to shape priorities for the next year. We look forward to conversation with you; we want input to help us meet your needs and the needs of the Church.

Will you pray for the ministry of AllianceQ? Will you hold space for the visioning, imagination, and accountability of the Council?

Individuals, churches, organizations: we have persisted through seasons all mixed up.

“Apples turn orange. Pumpkins turn red. Leaves float up into blue skies overhead.”

Fall is my favorite season — though challenging with the loss of daylight — in part for the brilliant colors and changes swirling around us. And speaking of colors…

We are excited to bring you Colors of Hope: A Devotional Journal from LGBTQ+ Christians published with Chalice Press. Preorder your copy now.

While it won’t be in your hands or on your e-readers till the spring, the book brings hope in the midst of that which seems all mixed up.

With Thanksgiving, Advent, and the new year nearing, we hope you will continue to prioritize your welcome and witness. Three Building an Inclusive Church trainings are on the calendar. Volunteers are hosting a Transgender Day of Remembrance Worship ServiceVirtual Pulpit Supply is available from our Ministry Intern Dr. LaTayna Purnell.

I’m grateful for the wideness of God’s love and the reach of open & affirming ministry. From North Carolina, Rev. Michael Yandell says, “Proclaiming our identity as an Open & Affirming congregation is not an addition to the Gospel proclamation — it is the Gospel.” Read why the church celebrated its anniversary and how there’s a link between claiming and proclaiming.

In Arizona, Desert Heritage strengthens its online presence with a Disciples Church Extension Fund technology grant. Read about the ways you can reach the LGBTQ+ community with your online presence.

Not everything is all mixed up. There’s love and grace and hope sustaining us. And the colors of fall aweing us.

On one of our first walks this fall, I noticed a bright red leaf. I must have displayed great awe for its brilliance because every walk since includes my toddler’s oohs and ahhs at every red leaf.

“Mama, this is your favorite leaf,” Josie says. And she collects every single red leaf. Slowly. The sun sets before we finish our walk! But wow: her joy is contagious.

“Yes, that leaf is my favorite. And that one and that one.” Each leaf a gift.

I find parts of leaves in the washing machine, the remains of that one leaf Josie insisted I put in my pocket. Remind me: each leaf is a gift. Tell me to laugh.