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Center Reflections

In Joy and Celebration: A Season of Leadership Transition

God calls us into the lives of others; invites us into places of special purpose; and brings us along on divinely appointed journeys in our lives. The Spirit clearly marks the season for sacred work in which we enter.  The season may be short or extended.  We may come in through gentle nudges from God individually, or encouraged by others.  Or perhaps, a ground swell rises with a clarion call to step in and we respond boldly, without hesitation.  No matter how we enter and heed the call, the invitation, and the appointment – what matters is our response in accepting the role of sacred leadership with a trust in the work of the great Mystery that exceeds ourselves, and a humility that ours is work to be done in holy alliance.

The Center for Spiritual Formation is in a sacred season of leadership transition as Rev. Dr. Kathy Harvey Nelson advances into a new life chapter following a fruitful and faith-filled commitment of leading and serving the Center.  And while her leadership tenure has elevated the Center’s work and impact, most importantly, it is her tending to, and growing of deep and attentive relationships which bring the presence of the Spirit into the lives of many.  This is her leadership legacy, and one that will linger with lasting love for all who know her and embrace the Center.

The Center is a place of safe and sacred space that rests in the mind, heart, and soul of those who have come to know its offerings.  It transcends physical space, and rises in its extended grace through its connectedness in love and invitation to be a part of something holy and life giving.  Kathy’s leadership of the Center has brought forth a new chapter of sacred work in an evolving legacy of leadership that stems from deep rootedness over time and continues to spread far and wide.  Through grace, love, and servanthood, she has drawn in and gathered those partners, students, directors, companions, and leaders who know her work. They know her work stems from a firm faith and foundation of integrity. 

Even as God has called Kathy into a place of new adventure, her relationship with the Center will continue. Echoing her work, I greatly desire to serve God and build on the foundation laid by Kathy and founding director Rev. Dr. Russell Hart. In this leadership transition, the three of us have begun to share new ideas for continued program improvements. Leading with compassion, listening, and a commitment to spiritual transformation is a continuing link. Providing hospitality and accepting all who find their way to the Center is a priority– whether on the mountain in Millerstown or via online venues.

As the incoming Center director, I come with great expectancy, joy, and the spirit of celebration brought about by the investment of many in this ordained time of leadership transition for Kathy and for me, and all who call the Center theirs.  The Spirit is clearly advancing us up the mountain to a new view of a valley that extends further than we have witnessed before. We stand in an exhilarating place.  We are experiencing the reward of seeing the distance we have traveled in the Center’s journey, the reward that is the Center in the present day, and that which awaits all of us in the seasons to come. Just two years ago we celebrated our twenty-fifth year of ministry as we began “Forward to Fifty.” We encourage everyone at the Center to continue their good work as we envision fifty and beyond.

This leadership transition between Kathy and I is a season of sharing in joy and celebration as we, and all of us, move along together.  Let each of us listen and respond to the call, the invitation, and the appointment which God is revealing in this season of our sacred journey that is The Center for Spiritual Formation. May we celebrate together through holy alliance and community.  May we share the life-giving source of the Spirit with enduring love and grace in our world. 

And now, as we join together in this joyful and celebratory season, “…To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:  Mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance” (Jude 1:1-2).

Rhonda Strouse

Executive Director, The Center for Spiritual Formation

Rev. Dr. Kathy Harvey Nelson

Director Emeritus, The Center for Spiritual Formation

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