When things get real,
The most famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams” is: “If you build it, they will come.” Of course that movie was about a farm field in Iowa which was being turned into a baseball field for the ghosts of departed ball players. Nevertheless what we have been doing at Parkview is building a field of dreams of sorts. It is a place where people can learn to minister from and to a unique and diverse group of people. This is a great opportunity. It is also a grand experiment. There are other residencies out there in the US, but not many and they are in large churches that receive funding from organizations like the Lily foundation. And there are no multicultural ministry residencies that I know of. In an earlier coach’s corner I talked about the Leicester City football (soccer) club in England and how they were doing very well with about 10% of the budget of the large, rich clubs. Well that club has just won the English Premier League watched around the globe and the season isn’t even over yet. They say it is the most stunning feat in a hundred years. Think of the Cubs winning the World Series with almost no budget. So small organizations can have a great impact.
But if we build it will they come? That question is being answered. The selection committee with the approval of the session had offered a position to two bright young women. The first is Chakrita Saulina, a woman from Indonesia (ironically no connection to the Indonesian congregation or me) who has just finished her masters of Theology at Yale Divinity School in Connecticut. She is slated to be coming from mid June to Mid September with a possibility of renewal The second is Rola Al-Askar from the Presbyterian Church of Lebanon who is finishing up her masters at Princeton Seminary and is to come in early October for a year. Application is still open as we can have two residents at time in the Kansha. So things are becoming real. We are excited about these residents-to-be as they are bright and motivated women who, undoubtedly, will have great impact wherever they serve in their life. It is great to think they will be able to do that with a dose of Parkview in their system!
Reality does come with side effects. It’s okay when the field is just a field, but when the players arrive it can happen that latent or new questions emerge and sometimes considerable anxiety. We may feel some of that, but that’s all part of blazing new trails. We may have a resident here in five weeks and there much to do still. Things may be a little frantic, even though we have been very deliberate in our process. Rola is still struggling with questions about visa renewal and there other issues we had not counted on that are particular to each resident. Experiments come with unpredictability.
Now one question you may have: what will change with the coming of residents with regards to the way we go about things? The answer is: essentially nothing. The residents will not be here to take over the duties of any volunteers. They will be there to learn and coming alongside. We want them to create new energy, not to replace the energy the Parkview family has already created; to open up new opportunities and connections, not dominate existing tasks. Some of their duties will therefore be outside of our congregation’s bounds.
Thank you for your continued support.May God bless our ministry. Aart