On a recent visit to Minneapolis, I was reunited with my “spiritual friends” group. We hadn’t seen each other in-person for over five years, although we do a conference call almost every month. It’s just three of us and we’ve been meeting since 1995. During our last year of seminary, a professor required students to form small “spiritual friends” groups. She said, “Ministry can be lonely and isolating. You need people you get to know and trust deeply, who you can count on for anything, that you can call in the middle of the night. Otherwise, you’ll burnout.”
The three of us didn’t know each other and perhaps wouldn’t have chosen to connect in other contexts, but I know now that my life and ministry would not be the same without them. This experience makes me think of kinship, our theme for August, and how liberating and useful it can be to widen our definition of kin. Who might you consider kin, outside of your family of origin? How might extending your circle of kin become a spiritual practice?
We get to decide by mutual consent who is our kin, whether we call them chosen family, friends, or something else. Life is challenging, so the connections that hold us through confusion, sorrow, and despair are a deep joy. May you find ways to give and receive in a nourishing network of kin, however you define it.
Rev. Dena McPhetres, Associate Minister