Dear friends,

I need to apologize.

When speaking with you via phone, I find myself interrupting your comments. It’s not intentional; I just can’t see you to know when you have completed your thought or comment.

Speaking with one another in a way that allows each person the time to share a completed thought, concern, struggle, and joy is a gift that we can offer to one another. It warms your heart to know that you have been heard by the other person(s) in a conversation.

When we share with one another in ways that are authentic and transparent, then we are sharing from our heart.

Jack Kornfield offers the following: “In modern life we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have forgotten this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart. When we ask it about our current path, we must look at the values we have chosen to live by. Where do we put our time, our strength, our creativity, our love? We must look at our life without sentimentality, exaggeration, or idealism. Does what we are choosing reflect what we most deeply value?” (from A Path With Heart)

When we share what we most deeply value with one another, even when we don’t agree, then we continue to develop a grace guided community which is founded on heart informed communication and dialogue.

We are the living Body of Christ, yet when we put more energy into planning our response to another rather than listening and hearing others as sisters and brothers, we are in that instant focused more on ourselves than being vulnerable to how God is at work. We become a hindrance to the flow of God’s Spirit.

Nonetheless, God is already and always at work in and through us, and is churning in surprising and startling ways. It is a beautiful thing to be surprised by the grace of God and for this to remind us of how the Spirit of God is flowing through us at that very moment.

Thank you for your openness to continued dialogue with one another, even when you disagree. Such conversations are places where the surprising grace of God speaks into our hearts.

Thank you for your willingness to struggle as the Body of Christ, and encourage the nurturing flow of the grace of God in our life together.

And thank you for taking the time to converse with one another on a heart level. A level defined by intimacy, vulnerability, and trust.

You all continue to be witnesses to the Resurrection in so many ways, and it is a privilege to serve with you in the name of Jesus.

God’s peace and grace to you,
Neil Leftwich Signature

Rev. Neil Leftwich
Missional Strategist and Superintendent
West District

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