At RevGalBlogPals, Teri asks us:
What's the most surprising connection you've made through RevGalBlogPals? Or the most surprising or helpful thing you've learned/experienced through this galship of friends?
I didn't get around to playing last week, but, so this post is a mishmash of...what galship is to me, and the surprise of RGBP.
I was probably about a month or so into a new call. My love and I had moved from North Carolina to Boston. I left a position in a newish church start, which I loved...I LOVED...the people, my colleague, everything...to travel to the awesome state of Massachusetts, which was liberal, gay-friendly, and completely foreign to both of us. My beloved fell right into her new position in higher ed, at the place most perfect for her. An amazing fit.
For me, I was lost. So lost. After the first couple of months, I started doing temporary work (which was a total joke, because I didn't even know how to run a copy machine) and I bluffed my way through MIT, FAS-Harvard, Radcliffe, and finally landing at Harvard Divinity School, being a temporary faculty assistant. In December of 2006, I landed my first church pastoral interview, at the only opening in my association, for an associate position. By February, I was offered the position, on the same day I was offered a position in the Women's Studies in Religion at HDS, to be the coordinator of the program. In spite of being enticed to take the position at HDS (which in hindsight....well, o.k. maybe, maybe not) I answered the pastoral call. At heart, I am a pastor. I wasn't exactly sure about the associate part, because I really wanted to be a lead pastor. But pastor vs. coordinator, it seemed clear.
And yes, it was the right path.
But I was lonely.
I had virtually no colleagues in ministry.
But I had a blog. Earthensoul. It was mostly about connections between being a potter and pastor, but so much more.
Somehow, I stumbled upon RevGals. Grace of God, really, because I don't remember how I found this sisterhood.
I think I might have played a Friday Five, first. I remember it was something about "what are you having for lunch" and "what are you wearing to work if you do on Friday......" And then, people responded to my post. My spinach salad with gorgonzola and pears was a hit. I was so touched that people took time to read my post, let alone comment.
So, I asked to be a member. And was accepted!
I had people. I had sisters. I had galship, I had colleagues. Instantly. Let me tell you, being a new pastor in Boston isn't the easiest, after only serving in southern churches. Everything is different. My colleague's wife was supportive, but she was technically my boss's wife. The other women I knew were a crusty ready to retire kind of grumpy clergy association colleague, and a practicing nun in the same association. I was starved.
So, reading Songbird, and Terrapin Station, Wills Mama, and St. Casserole, and Vicar and Authentic Voice and so many other blogs was a balm to my desert soul. I found community, I found church, a galship....
I missed BE1. I went to BE2 with fear and trepidation. It was in Arizona. But I knew that Songbird, Terrapin, St. Casserole, Vicar, and Authentic Voice would be there. They were my virtual friends, and I was hopeful they would be my life friends.
And that is the surprise. That the interwebs don't lie, when you are faithfully trying to be authentically you. I was so welcomed. I was known. I was beloved by sisters in faith, in spite of non-physical introductions.
I am sad that there are some that feel there are cliques in RGBP, or feel dismissed because they are older....but my experience as an almost 50 something lesbian clergy woman has never been negative. I have ALWAYS had supportive women colleagues....but I have had to search for them and trust.
With RGBPs, I have tried to be as openly welcoming as I was welcomed.
And I am grateful.
The most amazing surprise?
Two of the RGBP wanted, TRUSTED me to their pastor for their wedding. Crazy.
Of course we planned it together, but they trusted me with the liturgy to make their public vows of commitment (in spite of one bride Having A Very Famous Cousin Who Could Have Totally Been The Officiant).
And I am blessed with their courage. So, so, so many obstacles. So, so, so many ways they came out to their congregations. Their risks blow out my mind.
Since BE2, I have gone on others. ON CRUISES, people. CRUISES. Where you can eat whenever you need, your bed is made, chocolates on the pillows....and beautiful friends.
I can't go this year. OH! I am bereft. But I am in transition, and if someone drops out at last minute, and I am in a new congo, I am first on the waiting list.
But it doesn't matter. Because GalShip thrives, whether on a cruise, in AZ, in the blogsphere, or facebook....
I know you are there.
Written, with so much love in my heart.