My Dear CCDA Family,
Eighteen years ago, I walked wide-eyed into the worship space at Lake Avenue Baptist Church for my very first CCDA Conference. It’s a time I will never forget. I remember thinking, I’ve had more aha moments at Conference than in all my years in the church and seminary. From that time forward, CCDA became a new family for me. It opened my eyes to a fuller faith and a more complete and compelling gospel – one that I can never walk away from.
Some of my greatest lifelong friendships were formed through the CCDA Leadership Cohort program. Forged in the fires of sharing trials and triumphs, many of these friendships have stood the test of time. From the Cohort, my connection to CCDA was deepened by joining the CCDA staff team. For the past eight years I’ve had the tremendous privilege to work alongside some of the best, most talented individuals in supporting our association. I’ve grown to know you, the members of CCDA, more fully as we’ve connected through webinars, courses, cohorts and conferences. You have made me a better leader, pastor, and neighbor. For that, I am deeply indebted to you.
As I transition away from my staff role with CCDA, I am both grateful and hopeful. I’m grateful for memories of the Lord’s Land with Cohorts – those cold and quirky cabins, not to mention the tear-jerking, cheek-cramping, deep-belly type laughter that brought healing to my soul. I’m grateful for morning runs, salsa dancing, open mic sharing, and new friends made at the National Conferences. I’m grateful to have prayed with you in the halls of Congress as we stood together with Dreamers all these years. For these and many more things, I am grateful.
In addition to being grateful, I am also hopeful. I remain hopeful that the same Spirit that has guided us all this far, will continue to guide us as we navigate global pandemics and pursuits of racial justice. I remain hopeful that our Spirit-led ache for God’s Kingdom to come in our cities, communities and neighborhoods will be displayed in our work towards dismantling white supremacy and racists systems and structures that continue to brutalize the poor and communities of color. I remain hopeful that the winds of revival might sweep across our churches and ministries so that we do not grow weary in the work, and so that we never lose sight of the captivating vision of God’s Kingdom.
It is with great thanks and hope that I will watch and engage from a new vantage point. Not as a staff person in the National office, but as a member and partner once again. I bless you CCDA with the wisdom to discern the Spirit’s work in this truly unique season, with the joy of working out your salvation with fear and trembling, with the courage to stand firm against the empire that threatens with its fiery furnaces, with the patience and urgency of navigating a Kingdom that is both now and not yet, and with the child-like faith that is pleasing to the One who is making all things new.
With much love, gratitude and hope,
By Lisa Rodriguez-Watson