|From the Executive Director|
These days the closest I get to writing new sermons is this monthly column. The practice of staring at a blank computer screen wondering what will come through my fingertips that will at least be coherent, hopefully relevant and maybe even useful is something that never (and always) gets old. As we all know, the creative muse or spirit takes us in surprising, sometimes even amazing places. Kind of like my job.
In the past month I had the privilege of being invited to spend the day with the MFC interviewing candidates for our ministry, reflecting and praying with MFC members as they lovingly and painstakingly did their work. I wish everyone could have the same opportunity because it gives one great faith in the future of our faith; not only by viewing the amazing people who have chosen to give their lives to ministry but by watching the dedicated people who take their work of evaluating and affirming them so seriously.
I was also able to celebrate the installation of our former Program Assistant Allison Palm in Nashua, New Hampshire and welcome our current intern Emily DeTar into preliminary fellowship after she saw the MFC. Special moments that make me very grateful that I get to be witness to so much wisdom and joy.
Among my many meetings and travels this month I also heard a few stories of heartbreak. I know most of you hear stories of heartbreak regularly - it’s called being a pastor -but my stories of heartbreak almost always come from ministers. Sometimes these are stories of being done wrong by others - congregations, institutions, colleagues - and sometimes they are stories caused by our own wrong doing. I guess that might be said about every story of heartbreak ever known.
We all know that the strands of joy and heartbreak, faith and fear are woven fine in life and in ministry. The tears at an installation have just as much salt as the tears of a broken ministry. As we strive to be people of faith and hope, prophecy and love we know all too well when we fall short; perhaps those around us - and especially ourselves - remind us when we do pretty well.
This time of year when we prepare for our annual gathering of our clan at Ministry Days and General Assembly I’m more prone for reflection. Looking back at the months gone by wondering how well I, how well we, have done at serving our members and nurturing excellence in ministry. The work is never done and we’re never quite sure if the choices we make our the right ones. We have over 1800 members who are at various stages of life and ministry. I wish I could personally call each and every one and ask you how it goes and to thank you for being someone who has given your life in service to something greater than yourself. Who knows why we have been moved to do so; perhaps we have at least 1800 stories on why we did.
At this time of year when some are weary, heartbroken or doubtful about their ministry, let us remember the joy, the passion and certainty we have/had for our lives. And maybe tell someone what I will tell you - thank you.