In my class on Culture and System change, we were given a choice in assignment: write a synopsis/analysis of the book we were reading or reflect on and write a brief letter to our faith community of what we are grateful for. RiversWay Community is a Christ-centered Quaker meeting in Tigard,OR and I have been a part of that community for the last four years. I struggled with myself, and realized that I hadn’t focused my reflections, and times of holding my community in the light, on what I enjoyed about my community. I felt a distinct stirring in my spirit that I was being led by the Spirit into a reflection for my community. I would challenge each of you to consider doing the same and sharing with your community what you are grateful for in them. Here is my note:

To My Beloved RiversWay Community,

As I approach graduation and the possibilities of being called to ministry in other contexts, God has placed it on my heart to share why I am so deeply grateful for the community of faith that meets as RiversWay. I am grateful for the space we allow for each other in our articulations of God’s presence or absence in our lives. We take each other where we are at and don’t try to impose our ideas of “should be” onto each other. This is a rare gift that has allowed me to wrestle with my understanding of God as it has changed through my time in seminary. I have felt a sense of safety to doubt, question, and generally wrestle with God without having to also wrestle with the community. I am grateful for the healers among us who bring a sense of nurture to our discussions. Your concern for the emotional well being of our group and each of the people in it has helped restore my faith that the church can exist as a healing community again. Most of all I am grateful for the ways our community affirms the personhood and gifts of each person, not only in our community, but the people we serve every month through Showers & Laundry and the food distribution as well. The will to see a gift from God rather than human refuse or brokenness heals my heart and restores my faith in a God with the audacity to claim to be love.

With a Deep Sense of Love and Gratitude,

Gilbert George


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