Monday, October 17, 2005

A Long Day

Sunday was a rather long day.

I served as a chalice bearer at the 9 o'clock service, set up for coffee hour and attended adult Sunday School at 10, went to choir rehearsal at 10:30, sang at the 11 oclock service, and served goodies at coffee hour. Had a wonderful conversation with a gentleman from the seminary, who is looking for a posting at a local parish as part of his work. He's from Kenya and is already ordained, but is doing an MTS here. He might be good for us, and I hope we might be good for him.

That was the easy part.

At 1, we had my next big session with my Parish Discernment Committee. The topic was all things having to do with ordained ministry, from when you refer a parishioner to a professional counselor to do you preach on political topics to how are you going to finance your three years at seminary.

I though it generally went well - even when one person asked me to comment on the different preaching styles of our two priests and asked which one I'd model myself on. Talk about a politically challenging question!

I was a tad frustrated by one questioner who seemed to be looking for a specific answer (about preaching on political topics). I told him I thought preaching on the moral/theological axis was what we were called to do, and that preaching on a specific political agenda (especially here in Your Nation's Capitol, where everyone has an axe to grind) was not a good idea. I think he wanted me to talk about the necessity to speak truth to power. I'm afraid my answer was too wishy-washy for him. He's a hard person to read - would make a great poker player, I think - so I worry where he is on endorsing my call. Ah, well, the others in the group seem very supportive.

Lots of leadership-type questions. I think I did an adequate job there talking about concensus-building, clarity of vision, need for buy-in.

The "aha" moment was when they asked if I thought that I would be able to minister to a less intellectual parish than the one I am in now, where most of the folks are pretty high-powered intellectually. The question came up int he context of referring parishioners for professional help if they needed it. They rightly pointed out that if I was in one of the rural counties, such resources might not be available, and it would fall on me to provide pastoral care, even for folks that I might refer to professionals in other settings. My case thus far had been that at least in the early years of my ministry, I'd err on the side of caution and refer folks more. They were right - I might not have that luxury if I were in a rural community or a poor urban one...

Afterwards, I did a debriefing with PH, who was gently amused by how I was parsing out every question and critiquing each of my own answers. He thinks I'll have no problem whatsoever. I'm not sure I'm ready to feel so confident.

Next step is their meeting with PH, who will get to talk about how he'll deal with the rigors of being a clergy spouse. Turnabout fair play.

Then they get to draft their report and decide whether to recommend...

No comments: