September Letter from Executive Director Kelsey Rice Bogdan

“This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow.” --Fr. Ken Untener

When I worked in the stewardship office of a large Episcopal parish, this time of year was replete with themes of harvest. The church even had a beautiful stained glass window, depicting the biblical parable of the sower and the reaper, that we used in materials where we asked people to make gifts to the church. And the late summer bounty of apples, carrots, and the more eclectic kohlrabi that comes in my farm share right now supports that.

Life Together, by contrast, spends most of its time talking about the seeds. From Orientation last month to fellow Meredith Wade’s eloquent reflection on tending strawberry beds, or Luke Abdow’s meditation on bread baking during transition, our work focuses on introducing practices and then helping fellows weave them into the fabric of their lives. We don’t anticipate seeing the full fruit-- the rich spiritual lives people cultivate, the vocational directions that emerge, the systems that are ultimately transformed-- in the years fellows are here. We plant a lot of seeds, with the faith that those seeds will take root over time.

Yet something is lost when we’re always about planting seeds, and never about lifting up and celebrating the fruit that comes of it. Next fall Life Together will celebrate 10 years of forming prayerful and prophetic leadership for the church and the world-- 10 years in which fellows have gone out to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” in church sanctuaries, climate change rallies, ICE detention facilities, and more. In those 10 years, and the 10 years of the Micah Project prior to that, more than 200 young adults have emerged to become leaders in places from Boston to Thailand. They have amazing stories to tell, stories of transformation that I, for one, need to hear.

So this fall, we will be listening more intentionally to the stories of Life Together’s alumni. Our last alumni survey, in the fall of 2015, helped us better keep in touch with alumni and share their stories with our broader network. We plan to hold another survey later this fall, and hope that all alumni will share your stories with us! Help us lift up the ways in which the seeds planted by this Life Together community are bearing fruit in your life and community, even as we continue planting those seeds for a new generation of fellows.