Ninety degrees with 80% humidity and I am wilting. Thank God for Carrier and all those pioneers of air conditioning. The rectory, church and offices are air conditioned. The cars are air conditioned. And I go from one air conditioned space to another. I marvel at the folk I see jogging, biking, playing sports in this weather. I am told it will take me a year or more to adapt to the weather here. To be able to venture out into the hot humid weather, to attend the outdoor concerts, and festivals the area has in abundance.
I realized last night that weather is as much a part of local culture as is dialect and geography. I really need to understand that I am in the long-term process of adapting to this culture both externally in the weather and learning the streets grid, as I am internally in learning the history, politics and peculiarities of the parish. And I can’t rush either one.
Nancy’s sermon yesterday in which she had the congregation look at and “play with” the metaphor of the parish as a tree seemed quite successful. There was a consistency as people described their sense of the kind of tree St Paul’s might be. It is another piece that can help us assist the parish in charting the future they desire. But it cannot be rushed any more than my system will be rushed into adapting to the climate after spending more than 60 years in the cooler northeast.
It takes time to adapt to the culture (and climate) of a new place. And it takes them time to adapt and develop trust for us as leaders. It is time well spent. We all have to recognize we cannot rush this process as we acclimatize and get ready to serve the neighborhood in new ways.