Naomi’s Corner

schultz2.fwDear Friends at First Baptist Church Palo Alto,

Many of you now know that I will be leaving your service as a “Minister-in- Training” at the end of January. It has been a genuine delight and privilege to serve with you, and I am sad to leave you. I have been deeply happy while participating in the life of your community, and it is primarily my health that leads me to step away from continuing at FBC this spring. In conversation with Rick, Tripp, and other mentors at seminary, I discerned that I wish to cut back on some commitments, do some necessary self-care in managing a chronic illness, and focus on studying and fulfilling my ordination requirements with the United Church of Christ. But I will miss you for you are, and have been, a deeply fun crew to work with. You have been patient with my growing edges, supportive of new things I wanted to try for the first time, and affirming of my presence with you. I learned much from you, and I am deeply grateful for your hospitality and care over the past 8 months.

Before I go, I would like to lift up that I experience your community as one that is rich in commitment, caring, engagement, and exploration. You are a community that shows up for each other every Sunday – one where lifelong friendships are nurtured and new relationships are forged. In Adult Education I have admired the depth of engagement you bring to discerning how to live out Christian values with integrity in a often cynical and fragmented world. I have also witnessed you take risks and try new things in your journey of discerning your future as a church together, and the yearning for an ever more flourishing and growing community that you carry. I admire your hopes and dreams for the future, but I also want to acknowledge the enormous amount of vibrancy and life that the First Baptist Church community already exudes. It shows in your commitment to working together through conflict, in contemplating and navigating the complex paths of renewal, and in creating space for something new to emerge despite setbacks and uncertainty. I hope and pray that all the great work you are already doing continues, and that it bears the fruit you imagine to be possible.

Speaking of possibility, Emily Dickinson once wrote :

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

It feels to me that FBC is, indeed, dwelling in possibility and gathering the elements of paradise in the process: a paradise of strong relationship, commitment, and vision that lives fully in the now while looking to the future. I look forward to hearing what unfolds in your lives and as a community. May the light of Christ guide your discerning, affirm your care and effort, and fulfill your aspirations.

Deep peace and many blessings,
Naomi Schulz
FBC Seminary Intern

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We are a progressive Baptist Church affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. We have been in Palo Alto since 1893. We celebrate our Baptist heritage. We affirm the historic Baptist tenets of: Bible Freedom, Soul Freedom, Church Freedom, Religious Freedom

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