Following the example of the lead pastor of my congregation, I began holding open office hours at a local restaurant in Davis Sq., the Blue Shirt Cafe, every Thursday from 5:15-7. Oh, it is a scene!
I have showed up the few weeks in my clerical collar, sat down and waited for folks from my congregation to arrive. They do. We sit at one big table, and folks come and go. It's a little clumsy, but mostly, it's companionable. Folks talk to each other, folks talk to me. I get to see how people are. If they need one on one time, I follow up and make appointments.
This is what I love about my open office hours. I get to see the people I serve in public and watch them, participate with them in a kind of public respect and love for each other.
My parishioners are funny, bright, full of longing, full of questions. They have questions about practice and belief, opinions about theology.
One of my parishioners is blind, and I get to see sighted people flirt shamelessly with his dog.
Several of my parishioners love to take a idea and hold it up to the metaphorical light to see what authentic colors may shine through. Tonight it was panantheism and pantheism. We got to have a conversation about vocation. Sometimes, folks come to be beheld in their need or grief or joy.
All of this spiritual activity, I love. God gave me a heart for love. Because I am their minister, I get the honor of loving these people, seeing them, being with them.I might be the richest woman I know. For this, I was made.