Here's what I told Beloved and my daughter, both of whom awaited the news with bated breath:
It was fabulous.
Maybe in my exhilaration I exaggerate. But I don't think so.
I was careful to give them permission not to respond immediately, not to feel that they must have a reaction on the spot. But about 20 minutes into the meeting, one member of the body (a retired gentleman) said,
"I feel the need to tell you that this really doesn't affect me, one way or the other. We"-- (meaning, his wife and he)-- "joined the church because good things are happening here, and you are one of those good things."
Another person (a woman, early 60's) piped up, "Well, that's how I feel too, honestly. I don't see that it's relevant for how you do your job."
Within a few minutes nearly all the people in the room had affirmed, in one way or another (by spoken word or by nodding vigorously as others talked) that they still value my ministry. In fact, one person said my honesty gives them greater confidence in me as a pastor.
We talked about some of the tough issues (the church policies that remain in place at present) along with some hopeful stuff as well (the grey areas that open the door, just a crack). They asked insightful questions. The goal seemed to be, how do they keep me on.
I'm so exhausted right now I can barely keep upright. (I've felt this way since 8:30, but Beloved and my daughter and I had to have a celebratory dinner).
It was good. It was very, very good. Now, off to bed. But first: thank you, all of you. I read your notes and comments just before going into the meeting. I was completely surrounded by love and prayers. Thank you.