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It’s a process

Dear Church,

Week Two is fully underway and it has been a joy to get to know folks through visits, meetings, worship, etc. While I am not falling in love with the SF-PA commute, this community and town have made these first 10 days energizing and enlightening. I am definitely looking forward to making the official move in late May and then the whole family can begin to get rooted in Palo Alto.

As you all get to know me, you’ll soon learn that I value the aesthetics of space. I like my physical surroundings to look a certain way, feel a certain way, and be the same when I come back as when I left it. Basically, I like to feel like I have some control over my life. Some may consider this a bit unrealistic: raising three children, three dogs, and well — God loves a good and faithful mess, but what can I say, I live a life of aspiration and hope 🙂

With that in mind, as you can see from the pic, my office set-up is testing my discipline of trusting the process. What “process” you ask . . .

  1. Move boxes from home
  2. Set Up Desk
  3. Plug stuff in
  4. Stare at shelves to see where things could go
  5. Unpack boxes
  6. Put stuff on shelves
  7. Take stuff off shelves because I don’t like how it looks
  8. Stare at shelves again
  9. Put stuff back on shelves
  10. Repeat steps 4-9 until I am finally satisfied, which might be 2025
  11. Give side-eye to framed pictures that may eventually get hung on the walls

I have to take a deep breath every time I walk into my office because I would love to unpack, set-up, and finalize my space all in one day. As I stare at the pile, I am reminded that sometimes one must simply be comfortable in the chaos, because, if time is taken to slow down and take in one’s surroundings, the results will make more sense and feel right.

The next few months will be a little like for us as a church and community as well. I am treating these first few months here as a time for us to unpack stuff, observe what’s going on, try something old or new, and then being okay with trying something else — think of this as a laboratory season, where we are getting the lay of the land by trying, failing, succeeding, reflecting, and then trying again.

Please do not worry, we will land somewhere, but in the meantime, I am hoping you will join me in the discipline of embracing the idea that “It’s okay that not everything is finished RIGHT NOW!” There are so many great things that are happening in this place that it will be important for me to get a broad view before diving in too deeply or too soon. I am so grateful for staff, committees, and individuals who have sat down with me to share their stories of faith, experiences of church life, and hopes for the future. I promise, being diligent and disciplined, will benefit us all in the long run, but it will take some time.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday when we remember the triumphal entry into Jerusalem AND how the very same crowd turns on him. We will travel the same journey: rejoicing during the first part of service and then acknowledging and lamenting our own complicity Jesus’ walk to the cross.


  • For high school seniors. May peace and perspective flow through students, parents, and guardians. While not all seniors, by choice or circumstance, attend college, this is an overwhelming time for those who are making those choices — including our family.
  • For those experiencing homelessness. May communities show wisdom, compassion, and foresight that bring about shelter of body, mind, and spirit.
  • For transgender youth and adults. May we be generous, loving, and just to, with, and around transgender folks in our midst.

I think that’s it for this week. Now back to staring at my shelves 🙂

See you Sunday.

— Bruce

PS: Have you signed up for a visit? I’m on target to visit 60 people in 60 days, so get on over and reserve a time using THIS LINK.