First Third Conversations

Open Hands, Open Hearts

open handsA blog post by Terri Elton

Yesterday, I was a guest preacher in a congregation that I had never been to before. I entered as I do many congregations -- a friendly stranger -- but left with more than I had anticipated. I left with a deep sense of connection to God and insight into what it means to be the body of Christ.

On all accounts, this congregation was welcoming. Several people came to me and introduced themselves as I entered. Many talked with me afterwards, sharing a bit about their lives

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The Common Thread of Coming Out

Tell your storyA blog post by Sarah Bane

Coming out… I cannot claim to know the courage and poise it must take to come out to someone. But, as someone to whom more than one person has come out, I have started to notice a common thread to each story: middle school. For each loved one who has come out to me, a common realization that “I am not ‘normal’” occurs in middle school, becoming a pivotal touchstone in their coming out narrative.

Middle school -- that tender, vulnerable age

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The Reality of Scattering

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

Several weeks ago I wrote about the power of gathering. Gathering is a vibrant part of abundant life, of living a Christian way of life. But there is other side of that coin, the reality of scattering. No matter how rich the gathering, taking leave of one another is a necessary reality.

Yesterday after a great weekend, I lived the scattering side of the coin. I came into the weekend tired and stressed.

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The Power of Gathering

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

We have just ended the season of “gathering” – the six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year when friends, family and co-workers come together over food and conversation to celebrate the holidays.  Some of these gatherings I look forward to, and others I obediently attend for one reason or another. And next year, like this year, these gatherings will happen again because gathering

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