During the last few years while I was in seminary, I have very much appreciated the love, support, encouragement and prayers of my friends and family. It has been quite a journey and I am very grateful for the experience!! Since my graduation in May, many of you have asked about my future role in ministry and what I will be doing. Though, for the short-term, things have turned out differently than I had planned and expected, I am learning that God works in mysterious ways and often has different plans than those we humans construct.
After the Indiana Board of Ordained Ministry’s disappointing decision in February to delay my commissioning, I prayed long and hard about my next steps for ministry. Since I had been serving as pastor of Smithville UMC during my time in school, my District Superintendent in East Ohio suggested that I remain in Ohio, transfer my candidacy, and take a full-time appointment here after graduation. I spent several weeks in discernment as I did not want to make any quick decisions about my future. After much prayerful consideration, though, in April I decided to stay in Ohio and had all of my candidacy files transferred here. In preparation for my moving to a full-time appointment, the East Ohio Cabinet then appointed another pastor to Smithville. Unfortunately, due to the economy, many churches (throughout the whole country, really) have found themselves reducing staff and/or moving from full-time to part-time pastors. And unfortunately, at the end of the appointment season here in East Ohio, there was no new appointment for me. Though initially discouraged by this, I still feel staying here in Ohio was the right decision. I know within the depths of my being that I am called by God, and even though I currently do not have a pulpit from which to preach every Sunday, I am indeed a pastor.
The good news is that I have taken a part-time staff position with the seminary. While in school, I lived on campus and served as the RA of the commuter dorm. Because of my work with students in this role, the school administration offered me a job as a “Residence Life Liaison.” In this new role, I will be a resource person for the Resident Advisors and work to enhance communication between the Maintenance team/Administration, the campus residents and the wider school community. This position has enabled me to remain on campus until an appointment comes along. I moved out of my rooms in the dorm into a cute little one-bedroom house on campus at the end of July. While in Indiana last weekend, I loaded up the U-Haul with all of my stuff that had been in storage and at my parents’ home and brought it back to Ohio. Now, after several years, all of my earthly possessions and I are finally in one place and I will soon officially (i.e., driver’s license and auto tags) become a resident of the Buckeye State! I continue to look for additional part-time work and am hoping to be able to start an extended unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) this Fall. The school is aware that I could potentially be called for a mid-year appointment and they are very supportive of that. In the months ahead, I look forward to the opportunity to do more writing, too — liturgical and otherwise.
In the midst of some frustrating moments over the last several months, I have been overwhelmed by the love and support of you — my family, friends and faithful blog readers. I cannot adequately articulate how much that has meant to me. Thank you. Through all of this, too, I am ever reminded that I need to trust in God’s grace and providence. Indeed I do trust that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to God’s purpose (Romans 8:28).
Thank you again for your continued prayers and support on this journey. May God’s ever present Spirit be made known to each of us and may we know what is the length and breadth and height and depth of God’s love for us. Blessings to you! Until next time, peace …