Monthly Theme: Transformation April 2018 Newsletter – Rev. Patty Willis

Transformation and Belonging

When I announced to friends in Arizona that I was going to seminary to become a minister, my friend Dan said, “In my opinion, the only reason to be a part of a church community is to transform.” I agreed with him. I didn’t want to spend all the time and energy and years of separation from my Beloved to be a force to keep the status quo. I wanted to be a minister who would facilitate transformation.

When I was an adolescent, my father often taught for summer schools in Mexico and that meant that we were away from our usual lives for two or three months. During that time away, I felt like I had changed, had become thinner, more outgoing, and just well, different. When I returned I wanted those changes to stick. I wanted to be permanently a new person. Looking back, this desire to change shows me how hard it was to be me, just who I was. I didn’t feel like I was good enough as I was. Transformation is something different. The kind of transformation I believe church needs to facilitate grows out of deeply belonging just as one is. It opens us to see how our unique gifts can be used to make the world a better place.

When you meet someone who believes you are just right, it can change your life. I met Marjory Tyndall. I believe that her own broad and deep acceptance of me (and others) came from a struggle to accept herself, including a recent loss of eye sight when she was in her 70s. Accepting changes in her life did not happen overnight and when she emerged from that difficult time, she opened her arms wide to the world unconditionally. That is my hope for us, that we give that acceptance to each other and open our arms wide to the world. In the process, we will transform.

In love and hope,