Returning to the COM

Tomorrow I will speak for the second time to the Commision on Ministry of the Diocese of Springfield.  It’s interesting that I am no longer nervous.  

I’ve spent more than a year at study, and had a huge job change which has had challenges, and what seems like a lot of personal ups and downs.  Yet, I’ve emerged not nervous, not doubtful, just called.  It’s as if the angels appeared and once again spoke the words, “Be not afraid.”

Looking back a few years now to the beginning of this process, a different scene existed.  One where I was the living embodiment of Exodus 4:13 constantly praying “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Was it the education, the practice, the daily office, the Sunday school teaching?  Of all of the ministries I’ve engaged these last year’s two have stood above the rest Eucharistic visiting, and serving in my role as Executive Director of a Faith Based nonprofit.  I pray that each will continue as a part of my path.  The other truly exciting thing has been the change in my husband who has always embraced service, but now embraces service ministry.  God has been at work in both of our lives.

May his work in us continue.

Amen.

Lessons in opposites.

One of the first things that has happened because of the postulant status is that Fr. Swan decided to have me licensed as a lay Eucharistic Visitor and lay worship leader. Eucharistic Visitors take communion to shut ins, whereas worship leaders lead the daily office. 

How many opposites must be embraced?
1) the first training for a future in ordained ministry is lay ministry. This contrast is not lost on me.

2) the two trainings have me taking Eucharist to people in the community, while it is not (and rarely likely to be post-ordination) my role to do Eucharist at the sanctuary. That is reserved for priests and bishops. (Insider baseball – Deacons can do a preconsecrated host service, but our bishop prefers this not be a regular practice.)

This process and it’s opposing nature’s continue to fascinate me.

The COM

Today, I met the group known as the COM, or Commission on Ministry. I was surrounded by mostly familiar faces, my Spiritual Director, a woman from the Sunday School class I teach, the grandfather of my future goddaughter, a Deacon whom I’d previously discussed the prospect with.  There were of course others with whom I was less acquainted.

I believe I comported myself well, but moreover I was distinctly lacking in concern. As faith bears out, then I am on a path and follow where led.  My life has been forever changed this last year. I am who I am now in His service, and I find that diakonia with or without orders is where He wishes me. I await the decision of the COM, which will come in the form of a call from the Bishop.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done. We say it in every office, but today those words hold new meaning for me. Peace and contentment.

-C

First Confession Session

fkne3The first rule of confession –

you do not talk about confession.

The second rule of confession –

you don’t talk about confession.

 

Well, actually I can talk about the experience if not the contents.  Today was my first experience with individual confession.  I admit to some trepidation about starting this process.  Part of the trepidation begins with the fact that confession has always been something I associate with Roman Catholics.  There is nothing wrong with that except that I don’t consider myself Catholic.  Media shows this as stepping into a dark claustrophobia-inducing closet, speaking to a veiled person quasi-anonymously, who then prescribes penance and sends you off to perform it.

This was not in the least the experience I had during this first confession.

First of all, it was in a wide open space.  To be specific a kneeler-rail in a side chapel which has no walls separating it from the main sanctuary.  No one was in the sanctuary but us, but it definitely was not claustrophobic.

Next, it was instructional.  My confessor sat and explained the procedure, which is largely “follow the rubrics” as for form.  He gave a suggested time frame, and set me at ease about the expectations for this first vs. future confessions. But in addition, after the formal confession he sat and discussed and probed the things I had said and a few things I hadn’t mentioned.  He looked at a theme, and commented on how it seemed to run through everything I’d shared.  In the end, I wasn’t ordered to do penance as much as given insight into something in myself to be more aware of and work on.  Then I was absolved.

I don’t really know if Catholic confession looks like it does in the movies, but I know now that this Episcopal confession was an experience which I value, and would gladly repeat.  It didn’t feel like obligation, it felt like therapy.

 

The Annual Parish “How-Can-I-Shorten-This-Meeting” Meeting

Hello, beloved.
Here’s the budget…discuss
Here is what every committee did/does and they all really need your help. Or …well nevermind…we know you can read.
By Title
By Title
By Title…
Here are the souls we’ve conscripted into nominations for Vestry. Let’s take a vote!
Synod anyone?…anyone?
We now return to our regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon nap.
Amen

Direction Finding – Part 3

Had a lovely chat over coffee with Rev. Canon Halt. Dare I admit my fledgling understanding of ordained titles really doesn’t yet fathom the canon part?

Anyway it was a good talk. We understand each other. And he heard my heart over my words.

My assignment is to come with a written rule of life a la Thornton between now and holy week. He’s also going to teach me about confession which in the anglican world is more common among clerics than the laity.

He thinks that first formal experience will be telling as to whether this spiritual director and confessor gig will be a good fit. Say a prayer for this partnership if you will. I appreciate it

-C

10 Lenses for Bible Study – Lens 8-10

Lens8

This has been a really productive study for us, and one of the highlights for me were the insights brought out from practising the Lectio Divina technique as a class. A warm thank you goes to Rev. Adam Thomas of St. Stephen’s – Cohasset, Ma -for his original version from which this study was adapted.

I hope you enjoy these last 3 lessons.

Lens #8 – Lectio Divina and Progressive Reading

Lens #9 – Oral Interpretation and Lens #10 – Relevance

Beginning the last week of Epiphany through April 17, we will be doing a study of the concept of Christian Witness based on the Gospel According to Luke.

Our Lenten Wednesday night Soup and Supper will focus on a study of the Book of Common Prayer. We will follow that up with monthly Soup and Scripture evenings and it looks like the topic is going to be Proverbs.

If you are in the area and interested in dropping by St. John’s Decatur, IL Welcomes You!

 

 

 

Related

Lens 1-4

Lens 5-7