2-23-21 REV. LORA EAST

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I really wasn’t convinced that parish ministry was for me. I was in my mid-20s and working at a synagogue in Evanston, IL as the Assistant to the Rabbis and Cantor, and my eyes were opened to the complicated inner workings of houses of worship. In fact, I hadn’t been going to church, either, because going to church felt too much like work. I still don’t know how Mo Ranch had my email address (I don’t recall ever receiving an email from them before) but I received an email from the place in central Texas where I grew up going to summer camp inviting me to the first annual young adult weekend retreat. It happened to fall over Yom Kippur weekend, and I had the holidays off, so I decided to travel to Texas for a long weekend to attend the retreat and visit family. It was my first time back to Mo Ranch since I was 19, and it was hands down one of the most formative places for my faith since early childhood. I was thrilled to return to this hallowed ground. Over the course of the weekend, I met young pastors and others in seminary, as well as reconnected with people I’d grown up with at summer camp. It was a magical weekend. When I made it home to Chicago, I decided it was high time for me to get back to church. I googled “Presbyterian churches + 60657” and found what was to instantly become my new church home at Lake View Presbyterian Church. It was there that I pursued my call to ministry and eventually moved to the Bay Area to attend San Francisco Theological Seminary. When I think back to a moment that changed the trajectory of my life, to a “God Moment,” I can definitely point to receiving that email from Mo Ranch. I had no idea what doors it would lead me through, but I’m so incredibly grateful to God for putting the opportunities before me.

Dear God, please keep my eyes open to the doors you are opening for me, and keep my heart and mind open to receiving and following the nudging of the Holy Spirit. Amen.