Photo by Coe Hutchison

Earlier this month Janet and I spent a wonderful week at Holden Village. If you have never heard of Holden Village, I encourage you to check it out. It is amazing.

Many visitors to Holden can identify with what we might call the Holden state of mind. There is no cell service, no wi-fi for casual use, and no television. You are completely disconnected from distractions. So many of us are used to looking at our phones every few minutes to check and see what’s new or what has changed. The first day at Holden, we continued to do the same thing, until we realized the phones said the exact same thing as the last time we looked. Pretty soon, we realized these high-tech pieces of equipment were just really expensive clocks—and we stopped checking. The next thing we knew, we weren’t even carrying them around anymore. It was delightful. So relaxing!

There was worship every day and the first night’s opening worship brought me to tears. God’s love was poured out, overflowing, into the community. I realized that I haven’t wept in worship since the last time I was in Holden. So moving!

There was lots of time to reflect. We enjoyed a couple beautiful hikes. On one of them we went almost 10 miles and never met another person on the trail. And there was not a single piece of trash on any trail we hiked. So wonderful! There was quiet time to reflect and read and journal and just look at the mountains while sitting on the porch swing.

When I retired a year ago, I felt that God’s call on my life included interim pastor work. This means being a long-term fill in at congregations in transition between pastors. Sometimes these assignments last a year or more and are part-time or close to full-time work. Offers for this work were occasionally coming my way and I kept declining them. Then a recent devotional podcast asked what we thought God’s call was at this time in life. Hearing that question, it only took me a second to answer. God’s call on my life is to be a faithful grandparent and a good congregation member. This was actually a revelation to me. I did not feel God was calling me to interim pastor work and that felt like a change. Yes, I will do weekly pulpit supply one Sunday at a time as the need arises. I currently have four Sundays scheduled at three different churches. But that is all at this point. This all felt like a new direction for me and it felt like a breath of fresh, Holden Village, air. Thank you, God.

No story about Holden is complete without mentioning the homemade Holden bread baked fresh daily. There is delicious bread for every meal and a commercial size toaster. There is fresh ground peanut butter, cinnamon and sugar already mixed up. Oh my, toast at every meal.

I came away from Holden thinking of Psalm 32: 10b-11. “Steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.”

It’s a Holden State of Mind.

God bless,
Coe