To A Colleague and Friend, A Short Tribute

November 2012, Art of Hosting Faith Based Communities, Salt Lake City, Utah

I have been fortunate to have some outstanding friends and colleagues over the last twenty years. Together we have wandered, and charged, our way into important work that has been impactful. Together we have dared to listen well for what our hearts called us too, which included going against a norm or two. Together we lended, and received, courage to be in some of the meaningful work of our times.

One of those outstanding friends and colleagues is a person I spoke with yesterday, Kathleen Masters. She’s in the picture above at the event we first met at (black sweater, glasses) — The Art of Hosting Faith Based Communities, from 2012. Kathleen reached out to me in 2012 first asking about bringing 3-4 people. She called back again asking about 5-6 people — would it be OK? She did the same again and asked about bringing 10-12 people. It was awesome — we made it work, which I didn’t know in 2012, but “making it work” would become a cornerstone for our good efforts together over then next seven years.

I want to underline “outstanding” with Kathleen (and Kathleen, I ask for your patience as I write a bit about you —  just enjoy a tea as you read, and know that there are many of us that celebrate you!).

Our context for speaking yesterday was a continuation of coaching sessions that have now taken place over the last seven years. That and several significant projects that brought some of the participative leadership set of frameworks and practices to Kathleen’s work with The United Methodist Church, Church and Community Ministries.

It’s a challenging time for the UMC. Soon they convene to vote on splitting their denomination. Kathleen and I spoke a bit about that yesterday, with some heartache, and reiterated a principle that we discovered and practiced together — “don’t blame each other for complexity (when it is a property of a system that has emerged from much more than any individual action. Rather, remain awake and in relationship.”)

Kathleen is winding down her formal job with UMC. She’ll transition to retirement soon. I have to name that it has been utterly fulfilling to offer some accompaniment to Kathleen as she has offered her gifts with her colleagues. I have to name that it was really something to write The Participatory Leadership Journal with her a few years back. It is a primary resource that I continue to offer to people in faith communities seeking to improve their leadership and hosting skills.

Kathleen is a very thoughtful and kind person — this is how I’ve known her over these many years. She’s generous in spirit and deed. I’ve seen her stand for those marginalized and underrepresented. I’ve seen her do so with notable cleverness, skill, and big heart.

In yesterday’s conversation, this dear friend and colleague named a bit of what was important learning for her. I could say, “these days,” knowing that there is particular challenge and heartbreak in the UMC tradition. But Kathleen was speaking a bit more broadly.

“In times of tumult, it is important that we speak honestly and openly about that. We must speak truth to one another. We must do out best together, everything from drafting off of each other in support to sharing the burden. We must acknowledge a lack of external control, but do all that we can, despite this, to cultivate internal peace, kindness, and generous spirit.”

Kathleen — your gifts are many. I’m grateful for these years of journey together.

Colleagues, Friends, Froleagues

Chris Corrigan has a practice near the end of the year / start of a new calendar year to name some of the colleagues that he is grateful to have been in association with over the last year. He names it with intention to have more collaborators than clients. I like the practice.

I decided to create my own list, running back through my calendar to catch names. It was fun to do this.

Though I’ve listed only names here, alphabetically, with each I found myself transported back to the times of together during the year. Some were working together on projects or initiatives. Some were zoom calls to catch up or to stay in contact. Some were people that continue to guide me at the core level. Some were new people, kindling some awareness together. Some were those with whom I share laughs. Some, tears. Some both. Some in work, imagining new insights and practices into being. Some to be more silent with, as if watching stars and night sky together.

There’s more, including a lot of family, that aren’t named here.

Thanks to all. I’m glad we go together.


Sue Artt

Christina Baldwin

Cameron Barr

Krista Betz

Jae Bird

Tom Brackett

Glen Brown

Mark Busse

Martin Challis

Chris Chopyak

DaMareo Cooper

Chris Corrigan

Jennifer Cowley

Bonnie Christiansen

Gayle Engel

Amanda Fenton

Dawn Foxcroft

Kelly Foxcroft Poirier

Nancy Fritsche Eagan

Caitlin Frost

Alexis Fuller Wright

Robi Gareau

Roq Gareau

Erin Gilmore

Penny Hamilton

Prentiss Haney

Tony Harding

Kevin Hiebert

Joan Hitchens

Alyssa Huebner

Jonas Hunter

Tom Inglis

Diane Jordan

Shelly Jurmaine

Lawrence Kampf

Carla Kelley

Charles LaFond

Derek Larson

Glen Lauder

Ann Linnea

Sarah MacDougall

Kathleen Masters

Larry McCulloch

Marina Minari

Toke Moeller

Bill Muhr

Kinde Nebeker

Marjeta Novak

Judith Oki

Maureen Parker

Stephanie Papik

Rina Patel

Teresa Posakony

Carla Reading

Jessica Riehl

Rich Rivera

Quanita Roberson

Sara Rosenau

Herwig Schoen

Todd Smiedendorf

Chris Smyth

Jim Strader-Sasser

Cori Thorell

Corbin Tobey Davis

Jan Ungerer

Dave Waugh

Katharine Weinmann

Meg Wheatley