Thanks, Winnipeg!

I leave today for Phoenix and Sacramento, but am still savoring last weekend in Winnipeg (where the temperatures were balmy – relatively speaking). I just got this encouraging and moving note from someone who attended the conference …

While I understand that this may not go directly to Brian, and I realize that I will likely not get a response, I decided that I had to send a quick letter of gratitude and hope:
After the Refreshing Winds Conference (Winnipeg, MB) this past weekend (Feb. 3-5), two of my friends, my mom and I came to get our books signed and to talk with you. We told you briefly of an intergenerational book club we’d been a part of (as one of many groups in our congregation…) where we read through “A New Kind of Christianity” together. This was a really significant experience for many of us, and had a huge impact on where many of us were at theologically.
I’ve attached two things to this email:
1) The photo that we took…
2) Something I read in my church on Sunday morning as a response I’d been asked to provide to the weekend’s conference.
Your words have had a significant impact on my theological views, my comfort with my faith, and my relationship with my church. The honesty with which you speak is what seems to resonate with me most. So, when asked to provide my honest response in church, that’s exactly what I did.
While I only spoke for a minute or two, as soon as I started talking, I started crying. I didn’t see it coming and I couldn’t help it. I felt overwhelmed by the feelings that supported the words I was speaking. I noticed that a number of others in my congregation began crying as well, as many seemed to resonate with what I was saying.
Since Sunday, I’ve had 6 different people approach me to start a conversation, and a number of others tell me that they were grateful for my courage to be honest and vulnerable and they actually felt the same way. I’m not saying this in attempt to brag, but rather to communicate that it seemed a wave of honesty was long overdue in our congregation, and now we’ve started the wheels of conversation, which I believe is the first step to moving forward and creating and environment that is fulfilling for all of us.
I came home after church that Sunday and opened by book to read what you’d wrote inside. It said, “Plotting Hope”. I hadn’t read it until then, and it seemed overwhelmingly appropriate. I feel like that’s what I’m going to try and contribute. Hope through conversation.
Every night after the conference [my friend] and I conversed about what we’d heard. Hours upon hours of conversation, and it feels like it’s just a beginning. We’re a few days away from pre-ordering your next book, and hoping to put together our same book club to delve in again.
Anyway, I hope the attached words from Sunday morning explain myself a little better than I did here, but in case it hasn’t been clearly communicated yet, thank you. For your courage, for your honesty, and for plotting hope in the lives of so many of us.
With sincere and overwhelming gratitude,

Thank you for this kind and encouraging note. You can see, in comparing your note to the other response I’m posting today, that my life gets pretty complicated sometimes, and you can see why notes like yours mean a lot to me. Thanks, sister, and thanks to all the wonderful folks I met in Manitoba.