From our Pastor to Pastors, Rev. Warren Jensen:
Those of you who understand the joys of reading will be glad to know that I share that obsession. And, I’ve found a book that I want to share: in fact, I want to suggest that we find a way to read it together! The book’s name is “Tending to the Holy”, written by a dual ministry team of Katherine Epperly and her husband Bruce Epperly. Bruce has been the Director of Continuing Education and a Professor of Practical Theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary. He holds dual standing in both the UCC and The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as does his wife Katherine. They co-pastored a Church in Lancaster, PA for a time and have now moved on to Massachusetts where Dr. Bruce Epperly is currently the senior pastor at the UCC church in Centerville. Their book “Tending to the Holy” speaks directly to most of the challenges all pastors face as they move through the stages of their ministerial careers: practicing the presence of God in ministry, preaching, teaching, organizing worship as Spiritual Formation, embodying the gentle art of Spiritual guidance, providing Pastoral care as Healing Presence and the importance of being engaged in Prophetic Hospitality. With great sensitivity and understanding of these issues the authors very creatively address the issues of how pastors keep their faith consistent and alive by suggesting specific spiritual disciplines that if followed produce results. It’s a hopeful, inspirational and very human book that has grown from their own experiences in the parish. It’s a readable book, one that can be understood and one I believe can produce positive results in our practice of ministry while at the same time serving as a vehicle for growth in our own spiritual lives.
The book was first published in 2009 through the Alban Institute but is now available (both new and used) through a variety of sources. You all know where to get books! My copy is a paperback. Reading the book is a prerequisite for being in the book study. ( I know, some of you (like myself) have on more than one occasion benefited from book studies in which we never actually read the book……..this isn’t one of those. You really need to read the book!) I’m hoping to offer this book study and discussion experience in three locations for the convenience of those of you who want to sit in. I envision a start time of January and with each group reading a chapter a month for maybe 7 months, meeting in Iowa City, Davenport and a location yet to be named in one of our more southern Iowa locations. I’m working on locations and times right now and will be sharing these along with dates as soon as they are in place. For now, plan ahead and be prepared to join the group that is closest to you or most convenient.
Reading is essential for all of us. Reading and sharing ideas and inspirations gleaned from content and insights from peer group members is even better. Sometimes it’s the difference in our ministry staying alive and well, or being pulled into a “maintenance mode”, or even worse, decay. I need not remind any of you that Christianity is a “resurrection” faith that offers people new beginnings. For any of us to be the effective bearers of this message means we need to be alive ourselves!
Contact Warren for more information!