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A Personal Letter from Bill

I am in anguish…

It lit something in me.

It was such a brief conversation a couple of months ago while walking the littered streets of Bethlehem, but its effect is having the effect of focusing my attention like a laser.

On our last Coracle/Telos trip to the Israel and Palestine, a brother and I were walking to dinner, and he said, “Bill, I don’t know what I was expecting for this trip but, boy!  This is not what I expected!”.

I reacted without a moment to plan the words, it just came out of me.

“Exactly! And that’s exactly the point!  We don’t want to bring folks over here and give them only a mountain top Jesus-and-me experience and go home simply having had an encounter with God (and there’s nothing wrong with that). No! I want folks to be meet Jesus deeply here and dive deep with him into the brokenness and pain that is this place, so they go home changed, and more able to dive into the hurt where they live, with Jesus, so that they can be like him and actually be his presence wherever he leads them. I want us to be formed so we can be like Jesus, who came into this world’s mess literally right here!”

I could have said I just want all of us Christians to be the Incarnation of the Incarnation. That is of course is the essence, the meta-narrative, the call, what holds all of it together for Coracle, “inspiring and enabling people to be presence of God in the world.”

So I’m beginning to understand in a new and much deeper way the apostle Paul when he says, “I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Gal. 4.19). I’m feeling that way more and more about everything we do and every person we are graced to meet and whoever joins Coracle in even the smallest ways.

If there’s anything we are doing that isn’t, in fact, forming people to be more like Jesus, then what in the world are we doing?  I think this sentiment is going be a clarifier and driver for us in the coming season, and frankly, cause us to really refine what we’re offering. This is for our sake, and for the sake anyone who goes on pilgrimage with us, or comes on a group retreat, or takes a personal retreat at Corhaven, or attends a Soundings Seminar, or receives spiritual direction, or joins our Fellows Program, or buys something from Common Good Things, or visits the Corhaven Graveyard, or participates in Baltimore or in our prayer group in NoVA, or joins us serving and learning in DC or even watches a movie together, and all and anything else.

So, I think that’s all I have to say about that at this point.  More to come, and please pray for us.  We’ve just started a new prayer team, and I’d really be grateful if you’d join it and get the praises and prayer requests at the beginning of each month.

By way of update, if you follow Coracle at all, you know things just keep on blossoming and new things keep coming into being.  It’s increasingly hard to keep up, which is a good problem to have.

Can I ask you to consider a few things for your action?

  1.  As I mentioned above, please join our prayer team.  I’m also reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1 when he was so reliant on the prayers of others to give him strength.
  2. Please spread the word about Coracle and let folks know about what they can participate in, or bring friends to what you’re doing with us.   The point of this obviously is that we want more folks to be more formed into Christ, and that obviously means more folks come!  You can do this by inviting them to sign up for our e-newsletter on our homepage, inviting them to like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, or by encouraging them to call us to learn more.
  3. Please consider the Coracle Fellows Program in 2018 for yourself or someone you think would be met by it.  The power of this Fellows Program so far has a been quite something.  Twenty Fellows this first year, wow.   In September we’ll open up the application process, and I hope you’ll already be considering this program for yourself or you and a friend for next year.  If you’re already interested or want more information, email Erin Clifford just to let us know and we’ll be in touch.
  4. Please pray with us regarding our capacity challenges.  The capacity of Corhaven feels like it’s straining at the seams, our small staff is all part-time at best, and we’re trying to figure out the best way to communicate everything because there’s a lot.  Our staff and board are praying about this this and focusing on it over the summer.   Please pray that we would have discernment.
  5. And last, and in light of #4, we need your financial support to keep on going from strength to strength and continue to able to offer these powerful opportunities for spiritual formation for as many people as possible.    Would you please consider and pray about a ‘summer-time’ gift or become a Hospitality Partner with a small monthly donation?  Whether your gift is once or monthly and whether it’s $10 or $50 or $100 or $250 or $1000 or $5000, your support means the world to us and makes a world of difference.  You can donate here.  Thank you.  We couldn’t do this without you, and without your prayers.

Thank you.  Really.  Thank you.  Further up and further in!

On the journey,

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