St. Andrew's United, CalgaryI began writing this blog from the comforts of my family home in London ON. The home my grandfather built, my Dad was raised, and myself along with my three siblings grew-up. The snow was falling, the fireplace was crackling and my glass of water was cold. I was on study leave last week and instead of having the week in Calgary reading (where truthfully I may be tempted to clean the house, do laundry, go to the dog park etc), I decided to visit my Mom in London and dive deep into Brene Brown’s text Dare to Lead.

Each day as I read different parts of the book, I asked myself what kind of leader am I? What kinds of leaders serve St. Andrew’s UC? What kind of leaders do we need to be in order to serve our community? In order to serve God? 8 months ago I began my call at St. Andrew’s and throughout the 8 months have had the opportunity to see the various leaders within our community of faith. I have had the opportunity to see the various group dynamics, the ways in which we support and challenge one another, the ways in which our paid and lay leadership helps to live into our mission.

Brown’s text took her research and transformed it into practical and insightful ways to help guide courageous leaders. Brown gave honest and straightforward tools for helping us look at courage over comfort. One thing that really stood out for me was around creating safe and sacred spaces for people to take off their armour of life, and be their true authentic selves. Brown wrote:

We can’t always ask members of our community of faith to take off the armour at home, or even school, or work, because of their emotional and physical safety may require self-protection. But what we can do, and what we are ethically called to do, is create a space in our communities of faith where all of God’s children can walk in, and for that day or hour, take off the crushing weight of their armour, hang it on a rack, and open their heart to truly being seen. 

As we enter the season of Lent, this journey into the wilderness, I wonder how we can strip away our own armour that may be hiding who we truly are? I wonder how we can authentically transform our hearts and our space so that others can hang up their armour and truly be seen? Let this be our challenge for when we can take off our armour, even for a moment, we connect to the most precious treasure of the human experience: the heart.