Deepening in its meaning over the last few years, the word ubuntu resonates for me personally as well as within the various communities that hold me. Ubuntu, an African word, communicates that I am because you are, meaning that we exist in community where we belong to one another. The anchor to that belonging is God who brings us into the story with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God exists in community through the Trinity, a mystery that causes us to wonder in the midst of the invitation to join. Through deep longings, we hear words that an early church father Augustine declares, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” We’ve been called into relationship with God and with one another. It is in belonging that we begin to know who we are.

For me, Selah offers ubuntu in its ethos of belonging. I discovered it twelve years ago when I first met with a small group in John and Marissa Kiemele’s home. From there, Selah has grown in its community, beginning first in Gig Harbor, WA, to Woodway, WA. Through our Living From the Heart cohorts, we also have people from the Portland area, Vancouver, Bellingham, Bay Area. From this web of connections, we now have people in Utah, Arizona, New Hampshire, and southern California. The community is expanding. The expansion serves not as a way to declare a number of people, but rather signifies the synergy of people desiring a deepening relationship with God and with others. Selah exists because those with similar hearts want to connect.

In the midst of Selah’s transition, my responsibility is to foster that connection. As the Interim Executive Director, my hopes focus on hearing your voices. We have already had two discernment gatherings with a third one this weekend. In that process, the values and charism (gift of purpose and being) became quite clear (see below). We’re also listening to those who want something to contribute to share in the leadership and ongoing possibilities for Selah. The Selah Board and I are paying attention to God’s unfolding present and future trajectory. The interim period includes a time of listening to God and one another for the purpose of discerning the direction, leadership, and possibilities of Selah. In light of this discernment, we have three questions for you:

What is Selah to you?

In what way(s), do you feel invited to contribute (ex. Hosting, Facilitation, Financial, Prayer, etc)?

In five years, what would be a sign for you that Selah stayed the course for its ethos, charism, and/or values?

Please feel free to respond by sending an email to director@selahcenter.org. Or if you would like to meet in person, let me know as I’m traveling up and down the I-5 corridor this summer to listen to you.

We’re in a liminal state for Selah – a threshold where we have moved from one season of life awaiting to step into a new season. In Selah style, we are taking time through silence, space, and conversation to take the next step with intention and grace. Please join us in this season through the ubuntu understanding that we are who we are because of who you are.


Mary Pandiani, DMin | Interim Executive Director

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