Well this week marks the first meeting of my discernment committee. In canonical speak that means a group of people will study both the meaning of the diaconate and me and compare the two to determine if they recommend to our vestry that I move forward on this path. Its a sort of a spiritual background check. Don’t worry there is an extensive actual background check coming as well.
Having oneself inspected is both humbling and honoring. It’s humbling in that rarely in our lives are we so heavily scrutinized than when we are vetted for a new role. A pretty amazing group of people just sat down at a table and is willing and wanting to vet me. Between wardens and vestry members and altar guild these are people who really know their Episcopal stuff. I’m admittedly their junior in many of these things. Also the committee contains one parish member whom I have not developed a previous relationship with.
I am also feeling more and more cognizant of the shift in my own role and presence in the church. I have told my story of calling several times over now, I am asked to publicly pray quite often. I’m also in need of counsel. Mainly in the areas of dos and don’ts. For example, I am hesitant to accept one of the committee members suggestions (invitations?) that I join the altar guild. I feel that, in part, my role is to facilitate service to the church in all parishioners and I feel that sometimes clergy can do too much, which doesn’t leave holes for the laity to fill. So it isn’t that I devalue the service of altar guild, nor that I want to avoid the work. It’s that I’d like to support them by finding a healthy team of lay volunteers to do the work. Then if there is an odd date where a fill in is needed, certainly I’ll roll up my sleeves.
The trouble is, I’m not self-assured enough in this feeling that I can comfortably express it when invited, especially before a committee with such sway in my path. I have reached out to a Deacon in another parish in the hope that she can give me some advice as I pursue this. If you have any thoughts please feel free to share below.