Posts Tagged With: Canada

Moving Lists

In the last month almost everything has changed. I’m living in a new city and country; part of a new Diocese in a new Province, rector of a new parish, and settling into my new apartment. Everything is more than fine.  Not only is the dog still with me, but Edmonton, my parish, and the Diocese have been incredibly welcoming.
In all of these changes, there are a few things I want to be mindful of.

I work at the art of preaching. I don’t want to let those disciplines get lost in the bustle of moving, unpacking (someday, someday), settling in, and learning all the new things. The two largest parts are enough time for writing (a rule of thumb I’ve found to be true is 1 hour of prep to 1 minute of preaching) and sermon reviews.

Clergy groups
One of the most dangerous parts of ministry is the sense of isolation. Clergy groups help prevent this. Denominational, ecumenical/interfaith, age/gender, interest/focus, however the group comes together it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone.

Being part of my community
It is nearly impossible to minister to people and a community you don’t know. To be the priest I want to be, I need face to face interactions–becoming a regular at a few places, regular routes for dog walks, and the time and energy to explore a new place. (And I have a lot of new places.)
Also keeping and growing my online communities. Some of how I got here is due to Twitter; some of what keeps me happy and sane are friends spread across many (and international) borders. I need the ideas, support, and insight from this cyber-cloud of witnesses.

Reading Time
I love reading. Reading, and particularly reading with time to process, analyze, and apply, is where ideas, creativity, and informed opinions come from. Time for reading, for sitting immersed in a good book, is easily lost. In the moment it is possible to think reading isn’t more important than the crisis of the minute…and it may not be. But not reading can become the crisis of the month and year.
I will be blocking off several hours a week for reading.

Office hours
There’s office work and then there are office hours. In the past year or so, I let not having an office keep me from posting specific hours where my office door is open to people dropping by. And I plan on borrowing an idea from a friend and having office hours both in my office and at a local tea place.

Liturgical and Educational Planning
Sometimes good ideas happen at the last minute. But often advance thought and planning keep me from falling into ruts or simply reaching for the closest answer. Sitting down to think a season and a year ahead help keep me mindful of what is happening when and why.
And my inner introvert appreciates knowing what’s ahead.

Self Care
Sleep. There’s self care and then there’s sleep. A lifetime of restless sleep has taught me both the importance of sleep and that it must be a priority. When I’m not conscious of how much sleep I need vs how much sleep I’m getting, I don’t get enough. Part of this is self-policing (turn the TV off or put the book down) and part of it is scheduling (how many nights I work).
Quiet Days. One of the habits I’ve noticed in priests I admire is the habit of taking a quiet day. One day a month where nothing is scheduled but time is set apart for prayer, contemplation, and reading.

Categories: My Life, Priest's Life | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Praying My Future

I started seminary the fall after I graduated college.  I moved across the country and, as it happened, away from a Church situation that was…unhealthy…for me.  It had been difficult for more than a year before I left.  I felt I had little community at my Church; I was not being fed spiritually. I even thought about switching denominations.  I couldn’t.  I wanted and needed a better community.  And I was about to move 2,000 miles away from the support I did have.

With no way to fix the situation I was in and no control over what would come, I prayed.  I started with no idea which seminary I would attend and no information about my future classmates.  Knowing that another unhealthy community would nearly kill my life in this Church I loved and wanted to serve, I prayed.  For my classmates, for how our community would be, for who we would be and become together.  For eighteen months,  I prayed my future, in blind faith that it might be true.

There was a moment where I knew.  Knew that seminary, along with all of its challenges, would be better, would feed me.  I kept praying–to remind God and myself.

One of the most frequent questions I hear (and I suspect most priests hear) is about the purpose and efficacy of prayer.  Do we pray to a God who listens?  A God who answers?  Why are there fewer miracles?  Why are so many prayers unanswered? Our  answers are tepid at best.  Of course God listens, wants to answer.  Miracles were likely natural cures in a time without scientific understanding.  ‘No’ is an answer.  We have to trust that God knows what we need better than we do.  Prayer is a meditative exercise meant to change us.  Worst of all: Miracles are knowledge of the presence of God.

I don’t know.  My prayers are often unanswered.  I have not witnessed a miracle, God’s intervening action in the world.  It often seems that I am praying into a void or as some sort of meditative exercise not communication with the God who calls me beloved.

But I also know that my seminary class was a healthy community where I was nurtured and healed.

For the past eighteen months I have been again been praying my future, from long the first moment I knew my time there was coming to an end.  I prayed for my Churches as I always had.  I also prayed for the Church that was calling me as their priest.  Long before I started searching, long before I had any idea where I would be looking, I prayed.

I prayed for their discernment, for my discernment, for the palpable movement of the Holy Spirit.  As I discerned with different Churches, I added prayers for them specifically.    As I kept looking, as the months stretched out, as I heard “not you,” as friends started to delightedly announce new positions and I had nothing to announce.  I prayed.

Now, after so many prayers:

I am delighted to announce that I have been called as the next rector of St Peter’s Anglican Church in Edmonton.

Categories: Church, My Life, Priest's Life, Theology | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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