Making things whole.

Being with lots of people, each with special gifts and a desire to build the church, can be exhilarating and inspiring. This week at Nuevo Amanecer, a conference of individuals dedicated to building Hispanic ministry through the Episcopal Church, I am gifted once again with being in the minority.

Surrounded by hundreds of people from a range of Latin American and Spanish-speaking cultures is for me an invitation into vulnerability. I am blessed through this experience to know a little of what it feels like to have a halting knowledge of a language, to want to communicate in that dominant language but to feel my ability is inadequate to speak from the depths of my heart and mind.

After a couple of days of much sharing and celebration, I feel called into a space apart, coaxed into a setting of quiet tranquility — a space of being still, of listening for the language of the spirit in my inmost parts. There is a time for inquiring and gathering, for opening new doors and windows, but there is also a time when withdrawing is the only constructive next step. This applies equally to facilitating an emerging ministry, a “church without walls.

So many great ideas, so much sharing of powerful life experiences — such wisdom — can shift from a space of building me up to a space of leaving me feeling fractured. I must retreat to that space of silence and wait for the gentleness of the Creator to knit me back together.  In the quiet I am soothed and nurtured, and the glorious shards and rich fragments of so many good things are gathered and reordered. In the quiet, I learn again to let go and trust that the One who loves us all will show me what I need and nothing more.


About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
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