Grace Notes in the Desert

Grace Notes in the Desert is written for the saints of Rio Grande Presbyterian Church and the surrounding community.

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Grace Notes acknowledges we need God's grace and forgivness as much as the desert water.



Being a Christian is a lifelong journey to embody
the scandalous love of Jesus Christ.”
--Roger Gench, pastor

For one week in August, 60 pastors attended the Synod of the SW’s Kaleidoscope Conference at Ghost Ranch Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Roger Gench, Senior Pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (located 2 blocks from the White House) and his wife, Frances, professor of 20 years at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA--led us in a conference titled ‘Struggling with Scripture’.

A more apt title might have been “Wrestling with Scripture”--not unlike Jacob, who wrestled a man all night on the banks of the river Jabbok, and would not let him go until he blessed him--as, together, we spent a week learning, what I would call, ‘how to overcome a superficial reading of the Bible to grasp its deeper, internal meaning’; and ‘the importance of faithful interpretation in light of the whole of scripture.”

Wrestling with Scripture is an act of faithfulness”, said Frances Gench, who more than proved her commitment to do so; &, despite the inherent difficulties, and certain cultural and historical abuses some scripture has engendered, rather than ‘throw the baby out with the bath water, Francis advised,'there is much to glean and learn in the wrestle.'

Roger and Frances facilitated days and nights of lively discussion among those present(colleagues who’s views I found genuinely insightful and meaningful). I was thankful for the opportunity to be a part of what, for me, was a treasure trove of theological discourse/resources, grateful for the opportunity for my own continuing education.

As another church year begins (traditionally in September), I hope you will see in these pages ways you can continue to embark on your own continuing education, here, (and, also, offer suggestions about what we yet can do, together, to bless one another and the world around us).

Blessings on the Journey,
A Pastor in the Desert