Faces on Faith: In praise of collegiality
One of the real blessings of being a congregational leader here on Sanibel is having a congenial group of colleagues. We don’t all agree on all matters of faith, indeed, we have some very divergent understandings! That’s why there isn’t just one congregation on the islands! And that diversity is not only OK-, it is, as I see it, a very good thing indeed! For I am convinced that the Holy, what I choose to call God, is made known to us in a wide variety of ways, and no one faith can capture it all.
So it is that when I sit and compare notes with my colleagues, I learn from them. Not just about institutional matters. Sure, we talk about things like building projects and new ways of reaching out to the community. But, we also talk about deeply significant spiritual and theological matters. My Roman Catholic and Episcopalian colleagues challenge me to think more deeply about the role of worship and liturgy in the life of the church. My Jewish colleagues remind me of the importance of the ancient texts, and press me to consider the scriptures from another perspective. My Christian Science colleagues help me to think about the importance of bringing healing into the world. My fellow free church Protestant colleagues encourage me to reflect on the importance of witnessing to my faith in both word and deed. And beyond the islands, Unitarian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist colleagues over the years have also contributed so much to my own theological and spiritual growth.
Clergy and other representatives of the faith communities here on Sanibel and Captiva have been writing these columns since 2012. Some of the writers have changed over the years as clergy have left for other congregations in other places, but the collective commitment to sharing our faith commitments with our island neighbors through these columns remains the same. Faces on Faith is truly an interfaith effort! And for that I am most grateful. Indeed, I remember my colleagues and their congregations daily in my prayers. And in the end I am a better pastor because of my colleagues. Sanibel and Captiva are better places to live and work because of the presence of our varied faith communities. Thanks be to God!