That’s exactly the process we began among the staff during training week. I named ten spiritual gifts that I have seen at work on the mountain over the years patience, endurance, gentleness, courage, compassion, truth-telling, joy, encouragement, kindness and peace-making. We began our exploration with Bible study on courage, looking at the stories of Joshua and Mary. Then we broke into nine groups. Each focused on one of the remaining gifts. Groups read a passage from Scripture and talked about what the gift looks like in daily life during the camp season. (My favorite of these verses is Hosea 11:4 – “I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.” This verse took on special meaning every time Paris and Toby were in the room!)
The conversation around these gifts was strong, joyful and invigorating. Before we finished, all agreed to share in identifying the gifts of others. The way is simple: look for examples of the gifts in action, then tell each other what you saw. By the end of the summer, or even of a session, the group will have recognized and named the gifts of each person. And through recognition and naming, the gifts of each will have been strengthened.
A poster with the list of gifts hangs in Vienna house as a reminder to all who see it. The rest of us can join in this joyful spiritual discipline from afar by looking for these gifts wherever we are, then telling those who use them what we have seen.
By Bishop Susan Goff