New MWF Leader, Heidi Miller
I remember helping my mother bake thumb-print cookies at our kitchen table when I was four years old. We would form a ball of dough, place it on the baking sheet and press our thumb into the center. It required lots of practice to my untrained hands as my little thumb would press a hole in the dough just far enough to form a small round bowl so that a bit of strawberry jam could be spooned in. Eagerly, I awaited the warm cookies to emerge from the oven so that I could share them. We made a lot of thumb-print cookies when I was little. Lots. You see, those were the cookies through which I could enter into the baking process at four years old, being a part of a community of baking and cooking in our family and extending that to others.
So what does being invited to get my hands in the dough as a child have to do with the Missional Wisdom Foundation and introducing myself to you as a Leader within the Foundation? Bear with me for a moment of looking at the bigger picture of what is happening in our world and then come back into the kitchen of God’s work.
We are at a crossroads with division in our political spheres, attrition in our churches, lack of connection in our communities, scapegoating of marginalized people in our culture, and an inability to form intimacy with ourselves, others and God in our day-to- day lives. Missional Wisdom Foundation offers another way. It experiments with, enters into, and teaches about alternate Christian community. It is where we come alongside of God in a kingdom-on- earth-kitchen, getting our hands in the dough, and practicing making our mark, our thumbprints, shaped after the incarnate Christ. This is messy work. It means that we listen, ever so subtly and deeply, for ways in which the Holy Spirit of God is already drawing people toward the aroma of God’s grace, where everyone has a place at the table. At this table, the love and struggle of Christian community forms, grows, and flourishes.
I’ve been baking in the “kingdom kitchen” a long time. I worked as a medical social worker after graduating from Goshen College in Indiana. Following studies at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, VA, I worked as a pastor, spiritual director and counselor, as well as an itinerant worship and retreat leader. And since earning my Ph.D. at Washington, D.C.’s Catholic University, with an emphasis on liturgy and spiritual formation, I have taught undergraduate, graduate students and pastors at Eastern Mennonite University and Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. I am currently completing a text on embodied worship and the shaping of the Body of Christ. I am also looking forward to gathering a team of people to work on worship resources that engage alternate forms of Christian communities. It is with excitement and joy that I bring this experience to the kitchen of the Missional Wisdom Foundation. It is in the Foundation where my call to be a bridge between the academy and church, and the church and world is finding a home. I look forward to joining you in God’s kitchen as we learn to put our hands in the dough for the sake of the world.
Peace, Joy, and Grace,