After5 months of writing and editing, my ordination papers are in!!! WOOHOO!! While I trust the UMC process, there are times I wish I were a member of a denomination that will ordain you on the spot some Sunday morning. I know, the ramifications of that are not what I want, but writing and reflecting ceases to be enjoyable, motivating, or even a helpful learning experience after so long.
There were many days I considered throwing in the towel. Fortunately, I have a brother who has been through the system and believes in a bit of tough love: "You may whine, you may scream, you may fuss all you want, but you may not give up." or "You know what sucks worse than writing them this time? Writing them again the second year." Now that's motivation.
I do owe a million thank you's to my readers: Mom, Dad, David, Dave, Kathy, Anne, Jack, Beth, Rob, Rick, Les, Chai, Mindy, Kels, Rex, Brian, and Wayne. Without their help, insights, critiques, and edits, I never would have made it. Yes, I could have edited the papers on my own, I am able, but having the outside input motivated, encouraged, and inspired me, and without that I would not have kept going.
The Board of Ordained ministry now has 78 pages of writing, 3 bulletins, 3 DVDs, and 3CDs in their hands to see if I am effective in ministry. I have no idea how things will go (especially after a few harsh words and "yellow flags" from one of my readers), but trust that I am called and as long as I am faithful to that call everything will work out in the end.
It has been encouraging to talk with parishioners. The Media Center (thank you Ernie and Julie) came out to tape my sermon/service since I couldn't work things out here and was having serious stress about the video/audio portion of the application. They did a great job and my congregation was wonderfully supportive. They gave me thumbs up, hugs, an "A+", and a number of "you pass in my book" type comments. It was a good service, though a bit odd and with more glitches than normal.
1) Our secretary is not Christian and doesn't always understand the system well...she wrote in the bulletin that it was my "ordination service". Needless to say, that was a bit confusing to people and a number of people brought cameras and one brought a gift because of the misunderstanding....oops!
2) I got my mic early and had it on my street clothes. When I put on my robe, I forgot to attach it, which meant we had a LOT of feedback until one of the music guys came and talked to me about it and I figured out what I had done.
3) The furnace pilot light was out, which meant the door to the furnace room opened and closed (quite loudly) a number of times throughout the beginning of the service.
4) Our lay leader, who normally facilitates the first half of worship had to take her son to the airport and so we had a stand-in. He did a fabulous job. It was just another unexpected thing on the day you least want things like that to happen.
C'est la vie.
It's my vie anyway. And it came out all right. The papers are in. My life is returning to normal
(whatever that means) and hopefully, come June, I'll be ordained!