Finished, but not complete

It would be a stretch to say the UKirk Fundraising Support Team finished it’s work this morning. We reached a place of handing off much of what has been in process for the past year. Next will be a time of implementation as our work is shared with collegiate ministers around the country. We (Mark Elsdon, Susan Rose, Diana Malcom, Stead Halstead and I) look forward to supporting ministers and ministries in the coming days. Fundraising can be overwhelming. Our hope is that our work makes it less threatening by offering practical help and support.

1400511_10152100892104236_1661935363_oMark, Susan, Jim & Diana (Stead was unable to attend)


Back in the Windy City

I’m in Chicago to continue work with the Presbyterian Church USA Collegiate Ministries (Ukirk) Fundraising Resource Team. Our goal is to formalize and launch a system of training and support for Collegiate ministers and ministries. The realities of fundraising are changing drastically and rapidly. Campus ministries need new systems to address these new challenges and the goal of the team is to help meet these needs. I’ll update you on progress along the way.

Life’s Little Surprises

A few weeks ago the local Presbytery Exec asked if I would consider helping as a Coach with congregations in transition. I agreed to consider the possibility and attend an initial training. Within a few days I went from being open to the possibility to being matched with a church. 

The surprise is the church I am now matched with is Birchwood Presbyterian In 1997 I finished twelve years as a staff member at Birchwood. It was the place where Connie and grew through our young adult years, settled into Bellingham, became parents, raised our sons, experienced community and, hopefully, matured as ministry leaders.

I’m thinking both Birchwood Church and I have changed greatly in the past sixteen years. I’m looking forward to this time of reconnecting and trust I’ll be able to help them in their transformation process toward a hopeful new future.


So long, I’m going solo

For ten years or more I have gone on an annual solo camping trip and it’s time for my 2013 time away. It’s not a deep wilderness, survival of the fittest exercise. It’s not a find myself, soul searching escape the world pilgrimage. I will not be leaving all technology behind. I will be tent camping at a state park, that translates into real bathrooms with showers.

I’ll spend my days reading books, listening to Mariners games on the radio, going jogging, cooking simple camp meals and taking a few day trips including ferry rides. The picture below may give some indication of where I’ll be.

I look forward to the trip. Something about the rhythm. I think I have been at the same park each year and usually in the same site. Somehow the simple rhythm is all I need.


Transition to adulthood, unknown territory

One of the great questions in our time is, “When is someone an adult?” The reality is we seem to have no clear rite of passage. Old expectations have quickly lost their power. Those transiting from adolescence to the adult world are entering unknown territory. Cultural shifts, technological advances and financial uncertainties have resulted in a general fog of understanding related to becoming adult.


Some questions to be considered are: How do young adults navigate in a world of unending options, high expectations and confusing messages? How do parents help prepare and support their children in becoming adult? What is the role of extended family and the broader community?


Some of the factors to consider:

  • We seem to lack any clear “rite of passage”
  • Culture is shifting quickly
  • “Extended adolescence” seems to be the new reality
  • The system that parents “became adult” in is likely ineffective to meet the needs of today’s young adults
  • The transition has implications for the entire family


Possible responses for exploration:

  • Gain an understanding – of the uniqueness of the family and its members
  • Post-high school – be intentional about relationships, decision making, support realities (financial and other)
  • Beyond – exploration of (new) expectations


I have experience helping people 1) evaluate unique family histories and dynamics, 2) define a hoped for future, 3) establish a plan for making progress on the journey to adulthood and 4) providing support along the way.