by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director

It is rare that I write a newsletter article that focuses on our LEAD life, but today we need to push pause to celebrate together.

The LEAD Launch last week marked a milestone in our lives as we move from being an organization under the ELCA Gulf Coast Synod to a stand-alone nonprofit.

This is a big deal and people created sacred space for us to catch up with what God is doing.

How often do we rush from one thing to another without stopping to celebrate? I am deeply grateful for all of you that made this special night so remarkable. I will remember this for the rest of my life.

The first season of LEAD was an adventure into the unknown, with relentless experiments in many directions. The people who made that happen should be thanked for their ability to engage the gray zone as we wrestled with not just what we were called to do, but how we should do it. Start-ups are filled with these crazy times and we have survived this season together. I want you to know, in front of God and everyone, how grateful I am personally for your vision, leadership and tenacity. Together we discovered a path forward, published books, gained respect, and did a ton of work! I want to say thank you to Bishop Mike for his vision, to Deacon Beth Hartfiel, Chris Hicks, Jessica Noonan, Chris Ray, Aimee Elles, Rozella White, Jane Triplett, Jim Merhaut, David Hansen, and the whole staff including coaches and consultants. This is what it takes to “do LEAD.” We have lived through a liminal space.

The next season of LEAD will be more strategic, more focused, and, if I am honest, even more risky! The people who will lead the way also need to be thanked in advance for joining me in this new, holy space. I am especially grateful for the addition of Pastor Louise Johnson who is bringing her many gifts to our team. We also celebrate with Louise as she was recently awarded Executive of the Year by the Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE).

As we dig into this next season of our life, we encourage you to stay close, working side-by-side with us. Let’s do this together. I am feeling deeply grateful and encourage you to celebrate with us!