Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Discern. Renew. Wonder.

A New Decade.

What shall I do with this wild and precious life (ala Mary Oliver) this beginning of decade, year....

2011 is a year of inevitable change for me.  Things will be shifting, somehow in the congregation where I am the associate pastor.   We are in a discernment process.  The bottom line is that we are staff heavy...and not really able to meet the budget.  So change is inevitable....we all know this.  The whole staff.  Which is fine.  However...I really want to be present to the discernment process--to be faithful, to hold up God's light in the conversations over budget and cuts and shifting priorities...I want to help my beautiful community to remember Whose we are and the message we have of Good New.  To. All. 

So, this enters into my own discernment process.   I really want to listen to where God is leading me...not just with this congregation...but what my future is as a pastor.  I have been ordained 10 years...and have had some really wonderful experiences in ordained ministry--serving as the first (well, and only) installed associate pastor with a great church nestled on a college campus near Asheville, NC.   I learned so much from them...and they allowed me to create and change things up even when they weren't sure....I loved the college kids...and the ministry we had with women who were homeless...and the day to day of parish ministry.  It was was wonderful....

After that, I was led to full time college chaplaincy...and although the setting wasn't the best for my theological leanings,  I loved relational ministry with students.  We had tragedies and celebrations...and my being there led me to have the opportunity to serve part-time at (then) a new church start.   I loved that community of faithful and doubtfuls....wanting to find a spiritual community where all were welcome, where the journey was home, where church was different.  Out of the ordinary, but yet, ordinarily so.  

This move to New Englad has afforded other opportunities, and in this church I serve.  Again, I have learned so much....and  I adore--yes truly--adore this congregation.   Who knows what will happen?   There are several staff configurations that could happen...and it doesn't necessarily mean that I will have to go, period.  
But in this discernment process, I know that I want to be a full time pastor...with more opportunities in worship and even more shared leadership.  Maybe that isn't what God has in store.  I don't know....but I also need to renew, I think...my passion for ministry (while strong, I think it could use some refining and clarity).  Much to ponder.

Renewing to me means reflecting, and highlighting all that is important and meaningful...to be clear in my vision and dreams for ministry with a congregation....and how God is calling forth my gifts to be of service...

And all the while, leaving room for Wonder.   Wonder and Marvel...at the way the Spirit moves......
in my life, in the life of this congregation, in my colleagues' lives......


  1. What an wonderful gift you are to your community of faith to so clearly honor discernment and the intersection into the desires of your heart and your sense of call.

    As my spiritual director would say...I'll hold you in my heart in this coming year.

  2. I miss you, friend. So sorry we didn't see each other in December, hope we can remedy that soon.

  3. joining you in prayer as you discern, with wonder and hope!