Guest blog by Proclaim member Amanda Nelson, 4th year student at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA
Bay Area members of Proclaim recently gathered for food and conversation at a local pizza joint in the Berkeley neighborhood known as “Holy Hill,” which is so named due to the nine seminaries in the area which make up the Graduate Theological Union (of which Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is a member) and it was indeed a holy experience.
I’m not saying we were singing hymns or turning our pizza crusts into the host; but rather, for those of us who were able to gather, this time together was a great reminder of the powerful presence of God made manifest in the lives and ministries of our fellow Proclaim members. Holy indeed!
As seminarians, we had a chance to share where we were in our journeys and to receive wisdom and support from the ministers “in the field.” Around the table, stories were shared and we were able to lend support to those with new calls, those seeking calls, and those exploring new ways of making their ministries vibrant. It seemed to me that we, at this gathering, were able to experience a small taste, a sound bite, of what is experienced when we are gathered with our greater community at the annual Proclaim retreats – and it was awesome!
Pastor Jeff Johnson reminded all of us that “there is no greater professional association that you will be a part of than Proclaim.” I know this may seem like a strong bias at first, but Jeff is right: there is something invaluable to the association we share. The benefits of being a member of Proclaim are certainly the gifts of friendship and camaraderie, but there are also the gifts of advocacy, collective voice, prayerful support, empathy, innovation, education, and…I suppose I could keep going, but suffice it to say, the value runs deep.
It was great for us who live close by each other to get together and remind each other that this gift that is Proclaim is accessible all year – through the wonderful Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries staff and volunteers, but also through our fellow Proclaim members. I walked away feeling refreshed and reconnected. It makes me look forward to see everyone again in May at the Proclaim retreat!