I want to start by saying how grateful I am to be here and to have the opportunity to address you personally. For those of you that don’t know me. My name is Karn and I have worked for Lyndale for close to 9 years. WOW. How is that even possible?!?

I am here today to tell my stewardship story. I would like to start by telling a bit of my spiritual story first. I am a PK (pastor’s kid) so I grew up with a lot of theology in the home. My father was a Chaplain, like many of you, though church was never a cornerstone of our weekly or even monthly life. We went on high holidays and always when visiting our grandparents. Church was a place that I was an outlier. I knew how to be in church so that no one would know I was an outlier, but I also knew that we didn’t fit in the ways the church wanted us to fit.

My adult life was spent seeking answers, meaning and purpose everywhere but the Christian church. I studied philosophy, world religions, and feminist studies in college. I learned about pagan theology and Buddhism on my own and within my community. I came up with some sort of deeply personal faith that came to feel like I was again an outlier. Or an outlier still, perhaps. That there was no single tribe for this variety of beliefs. I still went to church on high holidays and with my grandmother. I celebrated solstice with my friends and studied Buddhist dharma on my own.

Then I found myself a single mother of two small sons and in desperate need of a job. I went to Craigslist to look for work. The listing: “Small progressive church in SW Mpls committed to Social Justice seeking Administrator with bookkeeping experience” caught my eye.

The job itself was a perfect fit for me.  I was able to fulfill the needs that Lyndale had of their Administrator. I worked close to home. I had the flexibility to be with my kids after school and on their days off. I had the flexibility to continue to run my catering business. And I had an up front and personal view of this Christian faith community that was unlike any I had ever experienced before.

When I came to Lyndale you were preparing to sell the building on west 31st street and venture into the unknown. When I came to Lyndale I was living in the unknown. The unplanned for. The groundlessness one experiences when predictability, continuity and security are stripped away. In this way we were a perfect fit. There were indeed many things to hold onto when one ventures into the unknown. Many ways of finding true north and staying the course when the compass is lost. Turns out the bricks and mortar that buildings and spouses can bring to our lives can also be found in other ways and places and people.

And now Lyndale is settled in at SpringHouse. Or as “settled” as Lyndale gets or wants to be J  Settled enough to breathe, stake stock and do some unsettling  in areas where justice isn’t being served.  And my children are not so young anymore.  My catering business has been put to rest. Everything is different now.

When I first came to Lyndale I didn’t think I would still be here 9 years later.  I thought I would find different work, grow a new business, return to school.  The thing is as things settle here, they also unsettle. As Lyndale gets comfortable in our new home, we gain the spaciousness to again take stock. As I have been called to be on committees that are doing these assessments I have also taken stock of my place here. How can I serve? How do I fit in? From the bricks and mortar of finance to the heady and heartfelt work of the dream team and safe church committee I feel as if I have found a place, not as an outlier, but as a part of the family, with a place at the table. Something to offer and most certainly something to reap.

I may not be a member in a traditional covenant with Lyndale. But I want to support, engage and help sustain this community in deeply meaningful ways. Continuing the work I am doing and getting to know many of you better will be a part of that. Becoming a first time pledger will be another part of this deepening and ongoing journey for me. I am excited to broaden and expand the ways that I engage with Lyndale. Making a commitment to pledge is exciting for me. It allows me to show up. Give back. Support this holy process that is at once deeply personal and also aligns with my values and social conscience.