Tuesday, April 26, 2011

three cups of tea

I'm a little slow to get on the bandwagon for this one. I've been hearing about the book Three Cups of Tea for several years but just read it. The funny thing is that the person the book is about, Greg Mortenson, is in the news the last several weeks with allegations that his nonprofit organization, the Central Asia Institute, has misused funds and lied about the facilities it's built.

That's the bad news. The good news is that even if some of those allegations are true, I believe much more good has been done than evil in the life of Greg Mortenson. Maybe I just want to believe it because it's such a good story, but I just have this sense of trust for someone who talks about how educating people is the way to end terrorism, rather than bombing them.

For those of you who haven't heard his story, Mortenson was a mountain climber who went to Pakistan to climb K2. On his way home he got lost, and found himself in a small Himalayan village called Korphe. The people took him in and treated him with such respect and care that he felt like an honored guest, even a member of their family. He vowed to return and build a school for them, because he found out that their school-aged children studied outside (weather permitting) and wrote their school work in the dirt.

To make a long story short, after much trial and error he raised funds to build the school. Along the way he learned the language(s) of the region in which he worked in Pakistan, and through a generous donor he founded the Central Asia Institute. He has since built many schools, as well as clean water projects, bridges, and other humanitarian projects in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. He's also helped pay teachers who were working without pay, even if their schools weren't built by the CAI. You can see photos and read about the CAI's recent work here.

To me, Mortenson's work is amazingly inspiring. When he saw the situation of the kids in that village of Korphe, his life was forever changed: he had to act. He sacrificed a great deal personally in order to ensure that justice could come to that village in the form of a space in which to learn. Throughout Three Cups of Tea, some call him a "true American hero," and I couldn't agree more. What if our national response to 9/11 had been more similar to his work? Can you imagine how different the region of Pakistan and Afghanistan would be today?

Mortenson started working on his first school in the '90s, and continued visiting Pakistan and building other schools since then. He witnessed what life looked like there before and after the Taliban created a foothold in the area. Something I hadn't realized before is that in 1999 or so, the Taliban started building tons of madrassas--fundamentalist Islamic training schools. There weren't that many before then. People went to the madrassas because they didn't have much of an option--it was the only school available in many areas. People weren't necessarily interested in the fundamentalist agenda prior to that, but once they began going to the schools they got sucked in to that way of thinking.

Mortenson's work is also about empowering women. He has built many schools specifically for girls, because sometimes education is offered for boys only. He convinces villages and towns that educating women is important since they take care of the families, so having some knowledge of hygiene and how to take care of wounds, as well as other practical skills, makes the whole community better-off. He was even surprised that a simple thing like a bridge could empower women. In a remote village where he helped build a bridge, he realized that it allowed women to visit their families more frequently, which helped them feel less isolated.

I also appreciate Mortenson's respect for Islam. He learns about Islam and prays with the people with whom he works. Although he is not a Muslim, he respects the devotion of his Islamic friends to their prayers at set times. He respects the wisdom of the village leaders and imams. About one person he says, "He's the type of religious leader I admire most. He is about compassion in action, not talk. He doesn't just lock himself up with his books. Syed Abbas believes in rolling up his sleeves and making the world a better place. Because of his work, the women of Chunda no longer had to walk long distances to find clean water. And overnight, the infant mortality rate of a community of two thousand people was cut in half" (p. 201). I hope this is the kind of religious leader any of us aspire to be.

One quote that particularly stood out to me is this: "In times of war, you often hear leaders--Christian, Jewish, and Muslim--saying, 'God is on our side.' But that isn't true. In war, God is on the side of refugees, widows, and orphans." This, to me, is what the Quaker peace testimony is all about.This is why we refuse to wage war with physical weapons: not just because some book says so, but because we choose to be on the side of the good, the side of the unjustly oppressed. We refuse to oppress others in order to keep our freedoms or our stuff. And as Friends we have launched many a campaign and organization to do work similar to that of Mortenson's in the past. Hopefully we will continue to do so, and/or join with organizations like the CAI to do such work in our world today.

I don't think that education is necessarily THE answer--I don't even think it's the full answer that Mortenson is giving to Pakistani and Afghani children. What his work gives them is hope. There's another way. One doesn't just have to follow the path of the madrassas, or stay at home tending goats. There is another option, a humanizing option. In this case it comes in the form of education, but I'm not saying that education is God. People can see God through hope in their future, however. They can see God's goodness and love in the fact that they have the ability to break cycles of poverty. And hopefully the learning doesn't just go one way. Mortenson learns a great deal from the alpine culture in which he works, and the shortcomings of Western culture become painfully clear. Hopefully as we help others using the knowledge and skills that our culture has cultivated, we remember that we also have much to learn, especially about true happiness and contentment.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

in memory of crw

CRW was the name of the apartment complex where we lived at Princeton Theological Seminary. We just got the alumni magazine in the mail last week and found out that they have actually begun construction of their new married/family student housing, which in many ways is awesome! At the same time, i find myself mourning those apartments, and remembering the good times we had there.

CRW: the good, the bad & the ugly
The buildings had eight apartments in them, and there were about 18 of them (if memory serves). They were built in the 1960s, judging from the Pepto Bismol-pink bathroom tile and bathtubs! But they were spacious and had hardwood floor tiles. The basements had mold growing in them and you had to have the stuff in your basement storage unit up off the ground on palates, because when it rained there was standing water in the basements. Some of the buildings only had one washer and drier for all 8 apartments (some had two). Showers were notoriously temperamental, and we had to jump in and out of the stream of water often as it would suddenly change temperature for no apparent reason. Perhaps we somehow shared water heaters? I'm not sure, but it was a good topic of conversation on the Shuttle to and from CRW to campus. The apartments had a good amount of storage space (for an apartment), and each had a little deck outside sliding glass doors. The kitchens were updated and most had nice natural gas stoves and good appliances. We couldn't paint the walls, but that's OK--we were broke seminary students anyway.

CRW: a community
What I liked most about CRW was the community, and I assume that will continue. The buildings were built around a central greenspace where people played sports (especially whiffle ball!), walked dogs, played on the playground or studied outside when possible. After having a kid, that space was especially valuable for us as we made connections with other parents who were students, while our kids played on the playground. People would have barbecues as often as the weather would permit (and even sometimes when it wouldn't!). Each building had at least one barbecue, many of them passed down from other generations of PTS students. Parties out on the lawn were fall and spring staples. We were never there during the summer, but I think we missed the best parties because of it!

The student housing--not the housing itself but the fact that there was housing and it invited community--was one of the main reasons we chose to go to PTS. It made it possible for both of us to build relationships and feel part of the seminary community even though I was the only one in school. CRW served us well.

Remembering CRW
The other night I had a dream that we were visiting friends at their apartment at CRW, and I woke up and was really sad that that won't ever happen again--not because we'll never go back there, but that space no longer exists. A couple years ago my grandparents took a trip and visited every house my grandma had lived in, to celebrate her 75th birthday. It hit me that my son will never be able to do that because that house won't be there. We have photos but it's not the same. (I guess I won't be able to do that, either, but that's beside the point! I remember what it looked like, but he won't.)

Prayer for the future
I don't know exactly what the new building wil look like, but it's my prayer that it is a space that is similarly inviting for community, that will hold future students in such a way that they feel supported and at home while they are away from their families and normal faith communities. May it be a place rich in good memories for those students as they prepare for the ministries to which they are called.

A Friend, Erica, from home who also spent time at CRW

Our dear friends Elaine & Nate who were another big reason we went to PTS, in their CRW apartment

When we first moved back after E was born

The forest we could see across the street, out our sliding glass doors, in our second apartment at CRW

Where EP learned to walk!

Ah, snow storms...

We did a lot of Skyping!

friends Adeline & Junia on the playground

The Canal in fall (at least that will still be there!)

Dear Lutheran friend, Julie, & Catholic friend, Jason, throwing a Reformation Day Party...only in seminary...

Another creative party where we took turns reading a novella aloud and we had to wear scarves while reading.

Open mic at our place

After EP's 2nd birthday

Joel doing a party trick...trying to fit into a kids car that had been part of the CRW community for who-knows-how-many years (but not many years after this trick!)

All loaded up for the drive home for the last time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


On Saturday I participated in a training workshop for the premarital and marriage counseling program Prepare/Enrich. It seems like a really helpful tool! I have quite a bit of training in counseling from my undergrad in psychology, an internship in marriage and family therapy, pastoral counseling classes in my MDiv and helping with premarital counseling for an internship during my master's program, but Prepare/Enrich seems like it will give more focus to counseling sessions. It has an online assessment that each person in the couple takes, then it gives the counselor and the couple an easy-to-understand packet detailing the couple's strengths and "growth areas." There are a bunch of exercises the couple can then practice, with the help of the counselor, to get stronger in their "growth areas," such as communication, conflict resolution, etc. It also helps couples think about the similarities and differences between their families of origin and the family they want to create together.

I would love to get more involved in premarital and couples counseling. It's something I enjoy because I think a life-long partnership is both amazing and wonderful as well as one of the most difficult things you'll do in life. It's funny how the person you love the most can also be so hard to communicate with! Joel and I have found over the years that when we use the stuff we learned in our premarital counseling, it actually works really well and we can overcome things we were having difficulty talking through on our own.

I'm pretty sure this is the program our premarital counselor, Stan, used with us, but it's been a few years so I don't remember for sure... At any rate, I'm excited to actually use these tools with Joel because we've been talking about brushing up on some of that stuff, just for a "tune-up," since our ten year anniversary is coming up this summer!

And if any of you in the area are interested in premarital counseling or couples counseling, and/or if you want me to perform your wedding, let me know. It's something I'd like to get into doing more.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

quaker DIY

This month's QuakerQuaker blog carnival asks about Quaker DIY, especially around technologies. There's a shout-out to Northwest Yearly Meeting! (That's my husband, by the way--"Communications & Resource Coordinator"!)

I thought I'd add my two cents about Quakers, technology and Quaker process.

First, there are many things that are very Quakerly about using the technology available to us. As we've seen in the recent movements for liberation in Africa and the Middle East, technology can be used to subvert oppressive forces and for liberation. Technology right now has the effect of empowering people, or perhaps flattening the power structure--disempowering those who are using their power oppressively, and empowering those who speak out with liberating truth that is recognizable to the whole world. As Friends, I think we should be really excited about this! This morning I heard on NPR about a Chinese artist who's been detained by the Chinese government, not allowed to leave the country as planned, because he's been tweeting about things like the names of school children who were killed in the earthquake in Szechuan a couple years ago due to cheaply-made structures. (I don't care if people want to have a Communist government, but I don't want governments to create and then suppress knowledge of the creation of poorly-designed architecture. If it was an accident, fine. But if they're trying to cover up their mistake just so people won't rise up against their government, it seems like there are deeper issues going on.) At any rate, the fact that he has access to this technology makes it possible for him to have a voice about the problems he sees, and to embolden others to speak out as well.

Another thing about Quakers and technology that seems important: although Friends lost their cutting edge somewhere along the way, at the beginning of the movement Friends were actually using new technology to their advantage really effectively. Because of the availability of printed Bibles, and because they had recently become available in English, Friends were able to read the text themselves and encourage people to read it in order to know what God said themselves, rather than through the intermediary priest, who previously had been the only one (or one of a few in each community) with access to the written word. Friends also wrote many tracts and pamphlets about their beliefs and experiences and self-published them in quantities. These were popular means of communication at the time. Friends, of course, also wrote journals, which was not a practice limited to Friends, but was a fairly new idea for relatively-common people.

Along the way somewhere, it seems that Friends grew wary of technology, and to be sure there are things of which we should be wary. We can get addicted to "the next new thing," we can get distracted by keeping up with all the technology and not spend time with God, and in our fast-paced society it's easy to get so caught up in statuses and blogs and news articles and YouTube videos that we don't get enough sleep, let alone spend time in silent meditation or face to face with real people. (I myself am guilty of this at times!)

But I've found technology really helpful in my own life and in my work in Quaker circles.

Personally, I've been encouraged by blogging and reading others' blogs. I've appreciated QuakerQuaker since it began, and the informal connection it provides for conversations across the Quaker spectrum. I haven't been particularly vocal in the "Convergent Friends" conversation, but I consider myself a convergent Friend, and am grateful to know there are kindred spirits out there in all branches of Friends. Although I do have a platform from which to speak to a few people because I'm given the opportunity to preach now and again, blogging is a way I can share messages I hear from God, or at least to process what I'm thinking and hearing with others. This a) gives me the opportunity to share with a larger "audience," and b) lets people who don't care not listen, because they're not obligated to read my posts (whereas they're obligated by politeness to listen if I'm the one preaching where they are on a Sunday morning!).

For my work among Friends, technology has also been really helpful. Joel and I were the full group gathering coordinators for the World Gathering of Young Friends 2005, and we couldn't have done this without email. The entire planning was done via email. Probably now if we did it, we would be able to communicate even more effectively, but we used the tools we had at the time. I created an e-group for those helping with leadership during the full group gatherings, and I communicated with people from every continent (besides Antarctica) before we all arrived in the UK.

When I worked for NWYM as Peace Education Coordinator I wrote a blog about peace education, and it was actually really funny because at the time our e-groups were hosted through a Christian missionary organization with which we didn't have anything to do, but anytime someone posted a blog entry, the title showed up on the site's homepage. This organization was considerably more conservative than we are (read: pro-military), so people actually got really upset that all this stuff about Bible-base peace kept showing up on the main page! But I thought it was a good tool for getting our message out there, even though (or perhaps especially because) it made people upset: it forced them to think about a perspective that wasn't in their normal radar.

Now I clerk the NWYM Peace Education Subcommittee, and all the boards, committees and subcommittees of NWYM have their own group's site on a program called Basecamp. It's really easy to use. It's like a new-and-improved e-group. You can email everyone on your committee through it, but you can also upload files, create a calendar with due dates and timelines, create "Writeboards" that everyone can add to, etc. All these can be done in GoogleDocs, but I think Basecamp is easier to understand and use. This has helped our committee work tremendously. it helps us be much more organized to have everything in one place.

Also, our committee is spread out over a large geographic area: Oregon, Washington and Idaho, and one of our members currently lives in Australia! So we've used a mixture of phone conference calls and Skype so we can all be "present" at meetings. This has been really helpful in that people can participate even if they don't live in the same areas.

Using technology in this way has also been difficult, however. Basecamp and other technologies are not intuitive for everyone! I don't consider myself terribly tech-savvy, but for some, technology is pretty challenging to try to use. People forget their passwords or forget how to get to the site. Using email is nice except for with people who don't check their email often. It's also easy for people to ignore email, so if I can't actually go see them face to face, it's hard to get them to commit to something via email if they're really not excited about it. It's easier to avoid accountability by just ignoring an email.

I think the hardest part is that it seems like those who conference-call in or Skype in are not usually as invested as those who are physically present. For one thing, many of the things that need to be done are easier to do from the central location (our Quaker Mecca, as we in NWYM like to call it!). If there's a mailing, we have to do it. If there's something that needs to be communicated with the NWYM staff in person, we have to do it. So it still makes people from other places seem less needed, and therefore they're less invested. Also, it's easier to be doing something else during the meeting if you're on the phone. You can be driving or playing video games or whatever, and no one knows. (We might suspect, but we don't know for sure!) It's harder to build relationships with those who aren't physically present, so it's important to go visit them periodically to get to know them and help them feel included and appreciated. (I'd like to go visit Australia, but so far haven't had the chance!)

Another thing that is somewhat unfortunate about using technology is that I wonder if I send my thoughts and leadings out into cyberspace instead of speaking them and working on them with the people around me. For a long time I didn't even tell very many people I know that I had a blog. Then I could write whatever I wanted and not have to worry about what my community thought. Like-minded people would find my blog, but not-like-minded people weren't likely to. So I could safely give voice to my opinions and still have nice (but surfacy) relationships with those around me who might not think so well of me if they knew what I really thought. (Then NWYM started publishing links to blog posts on Facebook and it was all over!) I'm glad to have those in my community reading my blog, but I still wonder if I just write instead of actually DOING something in the world sometimes. And perhaps using technology enables that.

So to sum up, I think using technology can give us a voice as Friends that can make a difference in the world, and it helps with administrative work of committees and planning groups. It helps people who are distant know they are not alone. God can speak through us and encourage us through the words of others we've never met in person. At the same time, it can be used either as a distraction or as a way to avoid real relationships with those near us.

As with almost everything, we can use technology for good or evil. It seems like as Friends we're doing a pretty good job of utilizing it as a tool, but we must be ever-careful that we allow space for the Spirit to work among us, even across vast distances.

giving a prepared message

I've written three previous posts on what it's like for me, a Quaker, to prepare a message to give in meeting for worship, and on Sunday I gave the message, trying to be present to the Spirit in the process. Here I give some self-criticisms and then share about how it went giving the message.

I wish I was funnier when I speak. I think I take myself too seriously in that setting, because I'm funny in normal life...but telling jokes isn't my forte. I like it when others do this--well, most of the time, at least. Sometimes it's distracting because it has nothing to do with what they're going to talk about. But when they tell a funny story that gets at the heart of their message it just draws everyone right in, and I don't do that well. Also, I wish I was a better story teller. I know people relate to and remember things better when there are stories, but I don't naturally think of stories. I think of concepts and questions. I told one story Sunday besides the passage in John, although it wasn't about me. I talked about how I relate to the things I was talking about, but I wished I had some stories that would illustrate it better. I don't know if this is just a personality thing, but I want to work on developing this better in the future.

Giving the Message
I had the brainstorm that it would be cool to have something fragrant in the worship space so that we would have a sensual reminder of what it would have been like to be there. I thought about finding a really fragrant perfume, but I know some people are allergic or sensitive to synthetic fragrances, so instead I encouraged people via our e-group to bring daffodils or other fragrant flowers from their yards. (People might be allergic to these as well, but are more likely to have their meds on-hand, especially at this time of year with everything blooming.) This way we had the fragrance as well as the added bonus of a way for people to participate and offer something to Christ like Mary did with the perfume (although, of course, much cheaper!).

I think that part went well. First, I went out and gathered a bunch of daffodils and daphnia from around the meetinghouse that morning, and that was a good time of centering. I was grateful to be outside, grateful for spring and the beautiful fragrance, and focused on the simple task of choosing, picking and arranging flowers. Preparing the meeting space helped me prepare my self and my heart. Second, watching people bring in their flowers brought me joy, and it looked like it brought them joy as well. Even though we're Quakers, I think sometimes it's really helpful to have something you can put your hands on to offer to God, or as a reminder of God's presence. I think the daffodils played that part on Sunday: a symbol that drew us into the presence of God and that we could bring as an offering of our intention to be aware of and follow God.

I appreciated the music that happened before the message. The people who led music chose good songs that went with the theme, and this also helped me center. When I became distracted, wondering how I'd do, I reminded myself to focus on the words and be present, and to trust that God would work through me even if none of my words said anything to anyone there. God was going to be at work anyway.

I had a full manuscript in front of me but I didn't read it most of the time. There were certain things I wanted to say very clearly and so those I read, but otherwise I used the manuscript as a reminder. I think it's a good idea to read the manuscript out loud a few times, standing and looking around as if you're up in front of people, but I didn't do that this time. I just read it several times silently.

In a pre-service prayer time, Paul (my father-in-law and the worship coordinator at our meeting) asked if there was anything specific he could pray for, and what I was most worried about was that I would ask the questions I had prepared and no one would answer them and it would just be awkward. My worry (as most worries are) was unfounded. Many people shared when I opened it up for them to do so--so many that it took way longer than I anticipated, but it was really good stuff. I found myself near tears several times as people shared deeply and vulnerably about the ways they could relate to the characters in the story. I was so grateful to be there to hear God speak through them.

That's really my favorite thing about meeting for worship, whether programmed or unprogrammed--when we hear God together through more than one voice. This can happen if there's a regular sermon and a good amount of open worship, but I really like what we've been experimenting with over the last year or so in my meeting of having the message be more of a dialogue, or setting up the passage and asking good questions. Sometimes the person who's brought the message will ask such a good question that there's no time for the speaker to share much--the message comes out of the congregation. It's kind of difficult but really important to be able to discern in those instances whether the prepared message should still be given, or if God is speaking in a different way through those gathered. I hope to become better and better at that kind of discernment.

Anyway, Sunday I was very moved by what people shared. It added such richness and depth to what I brought that it humbled me, but also gave me great joy. I was grateful that what I had to offer simply became one piece of the worship offering we lifted up together in community to the present, living God, the Messiah who died and calls us to take up our cross, but who also lives and gives us more life than we could imagine.

Monday, April 04, 2011

preparing a message, part 3

I like bringing a message in programmed worship only every once in a while, because I have plenty of time to think and process beforehand, and even afterwards before I start thinking about the next one! I gave the message yesterday--or at least, I prepared and gave some info about a passage and encouraged people to listen to Christ about it and share what they heard. In this post I'll give a refresher on my topic (in case you didn't read parts 1 & 2 or forgot), and thoughts about some more preparation I did since I posted last. I'll write another post with reflections on actually giving the message, because this one ended up being too long if I put it all in! So stay tuned...

I spoke on John 12:1-8, part of a sermon series we're doing leading up to Easter called "Wondrous Encounters." All the messages in March and April are coming out of the stories of people encountering Jesus in the book of John. The story I spoke about was the one where Mary of Bethany (sister of Lazarus and Martha) anoints Jesus' feet with a costly perfume.

More Prep
My seminary class on preaching came in handy. I used several things I learned in that class and in my required, year-long seminary speech class. In speech we learned how to speak clearly and stand so that we look confident, which I tried to do as often as I remembered! (No hands in pockets, stand on both feet, etc. It's amazing as I've watched others speak how much these things really do have that effect on the listener/watcher.) In my preaching class we were required to write out our sermons, partially because we had to turn in the manuscript, and partially because they think it's a good idea to speak from a manuscript. I personally don't care whether people speak from a manuscript or not, as long as they do what's most helpful for them. I find that for myself, I'm better prepared if I write out a manuscript. I have all the ideas in my head, but if I don't write them down I'm not as clear about where I'm going and what my point is. If I speak from notes I generally end up talking too long or going around in circles. So for me, it's important to write out a manuscript, even if I don't stick to it completely. I've seen poorly executed sermons given both from a written manuscript and when they're unscripted, so I think it really depends on you, your style, your personality, and the way the Spirit happens to be working in you at the time. The important thing is paying attention to the Spirit and how you're being led. For myself, if I don't write a manuscript it's usually because I've procrastinated, not that I want to be spontaneously led by the Spirit, and I think this shows and I'm less able to pay attention to the Spirit in the moment because I'm searching for words.

The other thing that I used from my preaching class was the suggestion of how to formulate the point you're trying to get across. The text we read for the class was Thomas Long's Exegetical Method for Preaching, and I think it was out of that text that the professors for our class suggested we formulate three main things in order to hone in on what point we wanted to make and how we were going to make it: Focus, Function and Form. (They even all start with the same letter, like a good 3-point sermon...) Cheesiness aside, it's actually really helpful. The form is a single-sentence summary of what the sermon is about. The function is a single-sentence summary of what you want the hearers to experience, what you want it to do to them. The form is how you're going to deliver the message--so it could be a 3-point sermon, it could be expository or narrative or dialogical or what have you. My focus, function and form were as follows:

Focus: Mary anointed Jesus as Messiah, but as a Messiah who was going to die.
Function: Self-examination of times we try to co-opt Jesus and his message in order to gain something for ourselves (Judas), or we simply misunderstand what Christ is calling us to do (disciples), or sometimes, like Mary, we don’t understand but we get something profoundly right. Recognition that we all have gifts to offer, but we can't offer them with strings attached—only offering them to the Messiah we expect or desire--but must offer them to the true Messiah, even unto death.
Form: Intro, read the text, ask for people's initial thoughts and what stands out; develop characters, ask who people relate to and why and give space for them to answer. Do a little wrap-up; queries to go into open worship.

One other major thing I had to do to prepare was to discern, like in unprogrammed worship, which message was for me alone, which might be something I needed to share with a few friends, and which message was for the group that would be gathered there on Sunday morning. When I wrote "part 2" about preparing this message, most of what I wrote was stuff that I was dealing with or I was interested in, but it wasn't really what I needed to share with the gathered group.

At the same time, I wanted at least some of what I shared to be personal, because others connect better with it if they can tell you're not just preaching at them, you're speaking from your heart about what you're working on, and you're willing to be open and vulnerable before them and before God. It gives them freedom to do so as well, I think. So I tried to incorporate things that were challenging me about the passage, but the main thing I wrote about in my last entry (about "the poor you always have with you") actually didn't end up in the message at all.

This was the first time that I preached where I tried to make it more of a teaching or guided prayer time, rather than just giving a 20-minute sermon straight through. The "Form" I listed above is basically what I did, pausing twice to have people share on pre-determined questions I posted with Keynote on the screen behind me.

Tomorrow I'll post about how the service actually went, how I felt before and during, and moments I was aware of the Spirit or not.