Dear FBC family,
I’m grateful to you for offering all of our staff time away in order to refresh and recharge.
Today I leave for the Retreat Center at Bon Secours in Woodstock, MD, where I’ll join ten
other pastors from around the country for a 7-day retreat, guided by leaders from the Shalem
Institute here in Washington. As you may know, earlier this year FBCDC granted my request
to participate in an 18-month Shalem program called Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life & Leadership.
For about 15 years now, I have felt myself drawn more and more toward contemplative
prayer, silence, periods of solitude and the writings of contemplatives like Richard Rohr,
Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton, Mirabai Starr, Eknath Easwaran and Thich Nhát Hanh. My
desire to participate in this clergy program is connected to a deeper longing which I am still
trying to name. At the heart of things, the longing is for a deeper intimacy with God.
Coincidentally (or perhaps not), our church is on a similar path. At our leadership retreat last
October, “Intimacy with God” was the number one expressed desire for our church. I believe
this Shalem experience will provide a helpful foundation for me as we initiate together new
and expanding channels of connection with God. On a personal level, while I have gained a
fair amount of leadership experience over the past thirty years, I desire to lead more from my
spiritual heart than from a corporate, outcome-driven model.
So thank you, brothers and sisters, for supporting this opportunity. Upon returning from the
Shalem retreat I will take some time for vacation. I look forward to joining you in worship on
July 30th and am happy that you’ll have the chance to receive spiritual and biblical nurture
from Amanda Tyler and Charlie Fuller these next two Sundays. I am holding you in my
prayers while I’m away.
Peace and grace,
Dear FBC family,