It was T.S. Elliot, who captured what we want to tell you in this important newsletter with our big news. Elliot wrote in his Four Quartets,
“We shall not cease from exploration; and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Through a long process of discernment, Gwen and I are returning “home” to our roots and moving to Matthews, North Carolina. As our donors and friends who support us, we want you to be the first to know.
For years now, we have felt the tug within our hearts to go home. In recent months, we have felt God’s invitation to consider this possibility. After long and emotional talks with friends and family and with the Board of Potter’s Inn, we came to the conclusion that this kind of a big move is right for us and to do this now—earlier than we anticipated. It seems that we have witnessed many friends who at our same stage of life, seem to wait too long—or until a crisis forces a big move like this. We are choosing to do this now… while we are able.
So, we have sold our lovely home here and the moving truck will come “up, up, up the mountain” on September 5 to move us to a home we have purchased near Matthews, across the county line in Stallings, NC.
For the past five years we have worked with the wonderful Board of Potter’s Inn to help transition our entire ministry. If you can recall, we discerned the need to sell the retreat near our home and reposition the ministry with a more global online presence with podcasts, and to commission the Potter’s Inn Soul Care Institute to carry the “teach soul care” part of our mission (visit www.SoulCareInstitute.com for more information). Layer by layer and step by step, we sought clarity and in prayer began to discern our slow transition. Trust us, we are not returning home because we have not liked Colorado. We’ve loved it here. But deep down, call it “primal urging” or “sacred calling,” this idea of moving “home” began to nudge us to take the risk, to move, and help establish “Potter’s Inn East.”
As many of you know, I was born in Matthews; went to Matthews elementary school. There, Gwen and I met and went to East High School together. I went to college at Lenoir Rhyne, Gwen went to UNCC. Our first church Arlington—is in Mint Hill near Matthews. Then, this summer our oldest son Blake took the position of Professor of Military Science at UNCC. So, they moved to Matthews with four of our grands. Our other son Jordan and his family is moving from California to Virginia. The tug to return intensified.
Leaving our two Colorado sons and families is the hardest part of this. Leaving the deep and life-giving friends is difficult as well. It stirs on many levels, yet we have the reassurance that this is the time.
There are consolations and desolations in each of our life decisions, aren’t there? To be awake and aware of both is key, we think. There is a suffering in every anticipated decision and wise are the people who embrace this rather than believing an illusion that happiness is tied to a place. As we learn in the spiritual life, happiness and joy are within. The abundant life is within us and the Kingdom unfolds all around us. The things we long for most in life—joy, peace, love—are not tied to a mountain, a beach, or a person. They are available in our own hearts—that sacred place where Jesus is, even right now. Even as I write these words, I’m flooded with the truth of these words and all that Jesus taught us about this. This is the core message of soul care; learning to care for what really matters in our short lives.
Gwen and I will both move to a part time role with Potter’s Inn, reducing our speaking, travel, and leadership in December 2019. We have called this “Re-positioning” rather than retirement. (Two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote about re-positioning. You can read it here: https://bit.ly/2KADxIj )
We will focus on our podcasts and offering retreats. Our hope is to find a little house in the area which might morph into “Potter’s Inn East,” where we can offer soul care intensives, spiritual direction, and have a guest room for folks to come to us for some private soul care retreats. One of the blessings of technology is this—we can do our work now from anywhere and have global access. For example, the Soul Care Conversation’s podcast is now being listened to in over 72 countries! (see www.PottersInn.com/Podcast for how to listen and sign up. It is also available wherever you get your podcasts now).
Our goal and intent are for the ministry of Potter’s Inn to continue. We have been in the process, with our Board, to strengthen some aspects—like our Institute, which is growing, while allowing other areas to morph, transition, and perhaps hibernate until the next season approaches.
There is a season to everything—isn’t that what we read in Ecclesiastes 3? Nothing stays the same and what’s more, we are but dust. All of us are but dust. Embracing my dust has been a long, arduous journey. Decade after decade, we have pioneered like a pilgrim, spoken like a prophet and lived the life of an outlier—someone who is never really in the middle but always on the edge of things.
As we know, moving a tree to new soil is a process. First—there is shock. Then—it is normal for the tree to lose some leaves while deeper roots are getting established. Then, after some time—new growth begins. This is not an overnight process; that beautiful metaphor is true for us. There is some shock that this is actually happening. Our roots are being unearthed and exposed and there is great vulnerability and grief. We are trusting that this move will allow new growth within us and the message we have pioneered for these 20 years together will continue.
Here are some things to remember:
1. Our ministry is not stopping because of this move.
2. We are still asking for your support and prayers. Please do continue. The office of Potter’s Inn will remain here. So there is no need to change your donation mail or contacting us through Potter’s Inn. Your financial support helps the entire ministry of Potter’s Inn but as you know, we raise our own support.
3. We will arrive in Matthews area the second week of September and we will be travelling back often to Colorado help the ministry in our transition and for visits with our Colorado family and wonderful friends. We like this!
4. Pray for us in this transition—for health, sanity, and smoothness. We are downsizing and are leaving /selling much of our furniture. Having a more simple and quiet life is a value for us. We want to live the life we have spoken about and written. So, there is excitement brimming inside.
We will keep you in the loop! T.S. Elliot’s insight are the words of the prophets in the Bible, the people of God who seemed to always be on the move across the world who like us—and perhaps like you—ae always in search of our “home”. What is true is this; our home is in God and not linked to a geographical address. But what is also true is this—living near all our siblings and extended family, eating good tomatoes, and rocking on our new front porch sounds good also. After living and working on a mountain top for 20 years, we feel ready to “come down” and anticipate the new journey ahead.
We love you and we thank God for you for standing with us! We are deeply grateful that you are standing with us and the continuing and unfolding ministry of Potter’s Inn.
Steve and Gwen