Seven years have come to an end for me at an organization where, most days, it feels like a privilege to come into work. (There have been one or two days where it would have been nice to just stay at home, of course!)
I’ve just purged files, handed off unfinished partnership tasks, and turned in my office key here at Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. I leave really grateful to have played a part in an organization with such a clear mission and commitment to ending homelessness in the Twin Cities. And I’m continually impressed by the gifted work of all of my amazing colleagues. (I’d do shout-outs right here, but I’m sure I’d forget someone and then there would be heck to pay!)
As I cleaned out my desk today I came across a legal pad from my first weeks of orientation here. There were so many new acronyms and insider-speak that I had to keep a list of them to look up later. I feel like this organization took a chance on me—a former Lutheran pastor trying to figure out a new career path. I was new to housing development, but not to working with faith communities to follow our calling to be about justice-work. And I wasn’t new to simply caring about people and believing in our power together to bring about systemic change. That was my take on organizing, and I think we did pretty well over these last seven years. I was fortunate to work with Mayflower Congregational Church to develop Creekside Commons, with Westminster and Plymouth churches to develop Nicollet Square, and with Minnehaha UMC and Lake Nokomis Lutheran to develop Riverview Apartments. I leave with unfinished business in my work with the House of Hope to develop housing for homeless youth in Saint Paul, and a new project, yet to be named, of supportive housing in Minneapolis partnering again with Westminster and Plymouth.
And now I’m called in a new direction—to return to parish ministry as a Lutheran pastor. Now the good folks at Light of the World Lutheran Church in Farmington get to put up with me for the next set of years, and maybe I’ll get to work on the other side of the table as the pastor of a congregation that would very much like to develop affordable housing to serve those in need in our community.
Thank you, Beacon, and many, many blessings. We won’t be strangers, I promise.