How have you searched? How have you suffered? How have you served?
The assignment was to write a worldview paper answering these questions; it was part of my senior seminar course at Hope College several years ago.
Writing and sharing our worldview papers was one of my favorite college memories, not only for my own process of self-reflection, but to experience the benefits of being vulnerable with peers. I experienced more compassion and empathy for my classmates after hearing their worldview papers, their answers to these questions.
I wonder how you would have answered those questions in your young twenties… and how you would answer them now? After I read my worldview paper to my classmates, I remember my college professor telling me, “your curiosity is good, stay curious”. At the time, I was wrestling with my worldview. Having entered college as an outwardly passionate and naively judgmental/narrow Christian, I had encountered friends, teachers, and spiritual leaders who demonstrated an inclusive faith that was centered on grace and unconditional love. I’m grateful for their impact on my worldview during a formative time. I still had many questions and felt confused about political and social issues, and much of my previous fire and brimstone (lite) teaching still left me feeling a strong need to be good and obedient follower. What my professor picked up on, I think, is that I was in the process of searching. From my freshman to my senior year, my worldview had opened; it was starting to expand. Was there a time in your life of searching that brought you to a wider, more expansive place of understanding and faith? I found that place to sometimes feel lonely (not having answers or group identity can be hard!), but also freeing, peaceful, and restful.
This fall at CUMC, it is my hope that we can continue the journey of searching together, serving together, and to support each other through times of suffering. While the continued Covid pandemic presents some challenges, it really does give us a chance to be creative in the ways we connect and serve together! Having been able to brainstorm and collaborate with some of our amazing staff and volunteers including Sarah Drews, Ginna Beckett, and Lisa Cooley, there will be several Wednesday evening offerings with the theme of searching, serving, and (I’m changing it up, here) stepping.
SEARCHING. Bring your curious, intellectual selves to hear more about Advanced Care Planning on October 6th, The Art of Listening on October 27th, Dealing with Grief on November 3rd, and Ways to Take Action on Climate Solutions on November 10th. Since grief comes in many forms, and we can all work on enhancing our communication skills, and we can all take steps to help the environment– I hope you’ll consider joining us for these special Wednesday night offerings. All offerings start at 6:30, and the Advance Care Planning offering will require an advanced RSVP (fitting, right?).
SERVING. We have the opportunity to participate in intergenerational serving opportunities on the third Wednesday evening of the month this fall. How fun will it be to be together while we work on projects that benefit Michael’s Place, Cherryland Humane Society, Meals on Wheels, PoWeR! Book Bags, Prison Ministry, and the Children’s Advocacy Center? I hope you’ll join us!
STEPPING. When I’m not at CUMC working on Adult Christian Education offerings, I’m at The Greenspire High School teaching Physical Education and Health. I am passionate about movement that is inclusive, fun and soulful. This fall, I will be offering three opportunities to tune into our bodies and our spirit through contemplative walking and yoga. These will be outdoor offerings with an indoor inclement weather plan.
In a couple of weeks, our fall bible studies, book clubs, and other meaningful groups and offerings can be found here, or on the church calendar. Looking forward to searching, serving, and stepping with you! Please feel free to reach out at to answer any questions or to help you get connected. J
Please comment below if you’d like to share a time where your searching, suffering, or serving led to surprising places, expanded faith, or a period of growth.
In Christ’s love,
Katie Butera (as a newly wed, my new last name!)
CUMC Adult Christian Ed. Coordinator