2023 Fall Newsletter - Hear from each of Harbor's Pastoral Team
Rev. Sadie Cullumber
This season I’ve been sitting in the questions of our A Sanctified Art study. The questions are so simple, and yet really sitting with them has brought me into deep contemplation, and I hope it’s having the same effect for all of our community. Where are you from? Where does it hurt? What do you need? Where do we go from here? So simple. And so profound. How might our world transform if each of us had safe space to explore these four questions? What if we all genuinely cared about the answers our neighbors (near and far) might offer? What if we believed that our own answers would be valued and tenderly cared for?
We’re only halfway through our study, and yet the conversations within our community have deepened. It feels almost miraculous to witness the way community forms around authentically asked questions. I am grateful for the sharing that has happened in person at Harbor on Sundays, on zoom on Sundays, and in our midweek gatherings as well. It is my prayer that each one of you knows that your whole self is welcomed, held, and loved in our community.
I must admit that it has been different for me to be sharing the zoom space on Sundays rather than leading in-person worship. I love preaching and teaching each week, but I also believe that it is important to hear from the rest of you, and from Pastor Ryan as well. It has been a real joy for me to watch him lead worship each week, to hear so much wisdom pour out of him and our full community. It has also been a joy to get to rest, to take a moment to reflect on the last six years of ministry at Harbor. We have been through so much; we have created so many beautiful things; we have healed so much pain; and we are building so much safe and joy-filled space.
As we move through the end of the year, I hope you all will enjoy hearing from Pastor Ryan. He is so excited to lead us through our current study and through Advent this year. I remember my first Advent at Harbor, and I am grateful that he is going to have his first preaching Advent this year. It will be so fun and so meaningful for all of us!
In closing, I hope you’re digging into our questions this season. I hope you’re considering where you are from, not just the place you were born, but, as Lauren shared in her original poem, all the places that formed you. I hope you are also allowing yourself to acknowledge the places that hurt, and that you are holding those places in love and care. I hope you are becoming more and more aware of what it is that you need, and that you are finding ways to fill those needs. And I hope that as you consider where it is that you will go from here, you include Harbor in your plans, because we love you, and we want to journey with you!
On the journey,
Rev. Ryan Cullumber
What’s happening in my personal life?
It has been a busy last few weeks for me with lots of fun stuff I love doing. A little over a month ago my buddy Kevin and I did a little backpacking trip. We drove up to Sadie’s family cabin that her grandfather acquired in the 1970s. It is a magical place that is up the Sierra Mountains from the town of Big Pine on the way to Mammoth. The cabin is feet from a river that is fed by glacier lakes and looks over a green lush valley surrounded by imposing and divine mountains. A place where you often feel very close to God.
Sadie has been blessed by this place for her whole life during family vacations and I am eternally grateful that she invited me to experience it too. This beautiful cabin was our home base from which we hiked another 6 miles and 3000 feet in elevation to a glacier lake. Kevin and I camped on a perch overlooking this crystal clear lake that reflected the nearby mountain tops. I really felt connected to the Earth and to God and it reminded me of what we are doing here at Harbor, specifically with Blue Theology. Fostering a love of God’s creation by becoming one with nature instead of somehow being separate and different. Being fully immersed in the majesty of nature reinvigorated me much more than a week or two at a resort.
We have also been seeing a lot of live music in the last several weeks. This is something I have been intentional about because I used to love seeing musicians perform, whether at the local coffee shop or in a big stadium. So the family and I have been seeing amazing musicians in the last month from Coldplay to the Killers to an 80s band called the Bus Boys. Just a lot of fun seeing artists I have wanted to see for a long time. Feeling very blessed by all those experiences and trying to lean more into the joy of life.
What’s happening at Harbor?
Sadie will be taking the rest of the year off from preaching and taking some well deserved rest. Therefore I have the honor and privilege of preaching over these next several months as we enter Advent and soon celebrate Christmas. I’m excited because I have never preached throughout the Christmas season. I’m looking forward to bringing a new perspective to some familiar stories.
The last few weeks and the next 5 weeks we will continue our sermon series, I’ve been meaning to ask… We have already asked, where are you from? Last week and this week we will explore, where does it hurt? The series continues by asking, what do you need and where do we go from here? Simple questions with potentially very deep and expansive answers. I have really enjoyed hearing from all of you in the congregation about your reflections to these questions. It is beautiful watching us wrestle with scripture as well as our own histories to dive deeper into our faith while at the same time strengthening our community by simply listening to each other and being fully present. Asking questions from a place of true curiosity and being present and patient as we hear the answer is how we can all walk in this world more like Jesus. We as individuals and as a community often do not have the ability to fix wrongs and injustices in this world but we can provide the space and time to hear someone's stories and experiences. Presence and patience is how we allow others to heal from their past hurts and trauma without judgment and the need to fix anything. That is how we follow Jesus as his disciples.
Harbor Christian Men’s Group
The Men’s Group started meeting on March 22nd and has been a big success. We have had a variety of men join the call as we practice breathwork and meditation. Creating a space for men to be quiet and still and ask questions and be together in a non-judgmental space has been life giving for me and I believe all the men who have been on the calls. We will continue to meet every Wednesday evening at 6:30 to talk about our own lives, current events as well as relevant scripture passages that might give us a new perspective in how we view the world and our own lives. I hope you’ll make time in your busy week to join us!
That is all for now.
Pastor Janette J. Navarrete
My husband, Joe and I just got back from our honeymoon to Cancun where we stayed at the Hotel Xcaret Arte. It was such a beautiful trip and it's almost impossible to be able to write down all of the magical experiences we had within just 8 days! I will share one epiphany I had while there. To be completely honest, it took me a day or two to ease into the indulgence of it all.
Since it was a honeymoon and figured we wouldn't be taking a trip like this for a while, there were a few things we upgraded in our package. From start to end, everything felt like a 5 star luxury hotel, which is not something I am used to. I didn't grow up traveling internationally and visiting world renowned hotels, so I kept asking myself; is this too much? This feels too fancy, why do I deserve this? Why should I get to live this? And I just kept coming back to, if not me, then who? In that moment I felt like I got to have this moment for myself, but also for my mother, and grandmothers, and all my ancestors who didn't have the privilege of luxury. I also held it for my nieces, my future children, and all descendants to come, that yes, we deserve this moment, and we can make a way so that everyone is able to experience peace and safety and joy and beauty, and yes, luxury. I remembered that what we heal in our lifetimes, isn't just for us, it's also for the ones before us, and the ones learning from us, and for that reason, what we do really matters.
If you remember that our Children's Church worship is based on the “Children Worship and Wonder” program, where all we do is ask questions, you can imagine how much I love our fall curriculum! If you are a parent, or have ever been around 3-5 year olds, you will know that their favorite method of communication is QUESTIONS! Why are we going there? Who are you talking to? What's for dinner? Where is my sibling? When can we go back to the park? Are we there yet?! Questions are how they get to know the world, themselves, and other people. My question is, if it works for them, WHY wouldnt it work for us?
Since none of us are mind readers (right?) it's up to us to ask questions with genuine curiosity. Have you ever learned something new about your life partner or best friend, that you somehow never knew about them? That's because even when we think we have shared a lot, there are always things that we hold back. Maybe we think it's unimportant, or that it's too much information to share, it's too deep or too sad. Those feelings are understandable, and of course you don't have to go bearing your heart to every stranger you meet, but sharing some of these deeper thoughts, hurts or feelings within a safe community can actually help us connect even better. When we can show up in vulnerable ways, it allows others to do the same. It says, “I trust you, do you trust me?” You may be surprised at what happens in a friendship, or within a community, when we can all show up in that way. At Harbor, we know this is a safe space to show up with all of our questions and all of our stories. Here, we know that above all, God holds us and in turn, we can hold others as well.
This year we celebrate 5 years of the Worship and Wonder program! Our little group has grown so much and so quickly! My favorite part of worship is Spiritual Work time. This is when each person gets a chance to reflect on what they heard or learned in the story. They can do that through journaling, or coloring a picture, but they can also do that with legos, playdough, our origami set, using our sewing kit, or meditating with a puzzle or at our prayer station. In our Children's Sanctuary, each person is able to pick a way that works best for them to come closer to God. It has been my honor to be a part of building this ministry at Harbor and look forward to all of the ways we will continue to grow!