Hello emerging world!
Our first gathering of the city branch of up/rooted took place a couple of weeks ago now at Wicker Park Grace here in the city and after that initial inevitable stab of nervousness that no one was going to come, I felt really good about the experience.
Nine of us from the city and Mike from the suburbs sat around a pink-clad table in assorted chairs to eat hummus, apples with caramel dipping sauce, chips and cookies and to drink coffee and an array of tea. Once our kinship as creatures of flesh was established, we got down to the business of establishing kinship as creatures of experience. Mike spent a little time explaining the mission of up/rooted, deferring to me like he was speaking out of turn, but I hope that I clearly communicated that I was very comfortable with him in the role of teacher (he is a pastor after all) and that I am uncomfortable being much more to the group than a facilitator.
I have a degree in English and History because I believe profoundly that stories have power. Usually I engage with them in written form in books or on blogs or face to face with one other person over tea or on a road trip. However, this cohort is giving me a chance to experience people's stories in a new way. We spent almost an hour and a half taking turns widdershins around the table telling our stories of where we have been and where we hoped to go as a result of this kind of gathering.
We had folks from mainline protestant churches, folks in leadership at evangelical churches, folks who don't affiliate themselves with a church at all. Several folks shared my story of having their lives - forgive me - uprooted as they began to see that following God did not have to mean what they had always been told that it did.
As we concluded the evening, we decided that we wanted to continue with this format in the near future as we coagulate as a group, leaving the door open to different formats as time goes on.
We'll be having out next meeting on Monday, November 19. I'm working on a different venue, possibly bLEnd, but the fall back will be Wicker Park. I'll update you all as soon as I've got something nailed down.
I welcome any additions or corrections that anyone has about our gathering. I'm excited about what is forming here. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.