Calvin Presbyterian Church
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Pastor's Message

Apparently, there is a cultural trend to "declutter" one's environment that apparently took hold with vigor earlier this year. I keep hearing about this in a variety of ways, a news story about increased donations to Goodwill, an article about the environmental effects of garbage, and most surprisingly, at a Presbytery leadership meeting in regard to how one Presbytery is thinking about restructuring their services and priorities. In each instance, author Marie Kondo is mentioned. I did an internet search and a plethora of articles and webpages came up. Although I have not read her book, the web summaries of her decluttering principles sound intriguing (and definitely something I should learn!)

Cluttered room It's amazing how desensitized we can become to clutter around us. And, depending on the generation in which one grew up, hanging onto things that might "one day" be useful seems like a sensible and responsible thing to do! However, according to decluttering experts, there are hidden burdens to accumulating "stuff" and a corresponding uplift when we clear our clutter.

The Session has recently been talking about decluttering the church. A big first step in that process began prior to our hosting the Presbytery meeting in May. Thanks to everyone who worked so very hard on "clean-up day" and helped make the church welcoming. The initial impetus was to create ample movement space for mobility limited individuals and to get ready for "company."

The Session continues to consider potentially selling the building and remaining here. As we do so, we are having an on-going conversation about "stuff." What is essential to our mission and ministry? What is outdated and is no longer being used? What do we treasure based on memories? What can we live without?

Cluster of closed boxesIt seems likely to me that the reason the decluttering movement is receiving so much attention is that many people must struggle with doing it. It's hard, and requires hundreds of little decisions. We have an emotional attachment to things we've had for years, or items that were gifts, or objects connect to important moments in our lives. For example, there are items in boxes in my home which I have moved at least five times or more. That's a lot of holding onto memories!!

There is likely a moment in each of our lives when we realize we have more "stuff" than we need. Perhaps our stuff is in the way, or we don't want someone else to have to take care of it after we die, or we realize we really aren't using much of the "stuff" any more.

The Scripture cautions us against holding onto our "stuff" – our wealth, our treasure, our possessions – too tightly or placing too much importance on them. "If you have two coats, give one away." (Luke 3:11a MSG) Decluttering experts tell us, and those who declutter concur, that when we let go of things we no longer need we feel lighter and freer. As we face the decisions ahead of us we will likely all experience some combination of loss, disorientation due to change, and open to the possibilities the future might bring.




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