BY THE REV. CARA SCRIVEN | TACOMA DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT
This morning one of my youngest daughters asked, “Mom, is it Fall yet?” I responded with, “Yes, it is Fall.” I know this partly because it is cooler in the mornings and the grass in our front yard is greening as it gets a reprieve from the hot summer sun. However, I wouldn’t need to step outside to know that Autumn has arrived. I would only need to pay attention to my body.
Over the last few weeks that body has gotten increasingly tense as I prepared to send my eldest daughter to Middle School for the first time and my youngest children to Kindergarten. These normal transitions coupled with a move over the summer for our family has left my shoulders as knotted up as Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, my breath, too short and shallow, and my emotions as grounded as my daughter will be the first time she is caught making out with a boy. Simply put, this year, the fall for me is full of anxiety.
Over the last several decades, the church has become increasingly aware that “Fall” has arrived. We live in a perpetual state of dread akin to the popular television show where, “Winter is (always) Coming.” For many churches, the season has brought with it a decrease in membership and worship attendance, fewer younger families and youth, and less financial resources to do much about it. As I wrote about a few weeks ago, despite trying a variety of different strategies to respond, the church finds itself short of breath, shoulders locked in position, and full of emotional tension.