I serve an amazing church. I tell people that all the time. I serve really faithful people who love God and love each other and love newcomers. They are willing to be pushed to grow in their faith and willing to risk and try new things. I love what I do and they make it easy to do so.
A few years ago, when I had passed the Board for ordination, my DS called and congratulated me and then asked if I wanted a move. When I asked why he said, "Well, some people want to go to a better church when they are ordained. They want to move up." I told him I didn't want a move. I serve a church where there is no debt, no major conflict, and people who are devoted to their faith. Where exactly is up?!?
I still serve that wonderful church and they just keep proving how wonderful they are.
Case in point: last week I met with my SPRC (HR committee for the non-methodists) and discussed what their expectations are for when I come back to work after my maternity leave. Essentially, my question was "When will it be ok for me to have the baby at work and when will you expect me to have childcare?" At least one person wasn't sure why I even asked the question. I explained that R & I wanted to be sure of what would be acceptable and what wouldn't be. Someone else asked if they even needed to make any kind of declaration. I said yes, that there were bound to be at least a couple of folks in the congregation who had a gut reaction against me bringing the baby to work. That they wouldn't have been allowed to take their baby to work and so they would expect that other women (including me) should not be allowed to either.
I offered to leave the room so people could feel free to be completely honest in sharing their thoughts. The chair asked me to go ahead and go and then she came to find me about 5 minutes later.
When I returned to the meeting I was told, "We trust you. We trust you as our pastor, and we trust you as a person, and we expect to trust you as a mother. We will leave that up to your discretion."
I am honored by their confidence and their trust. And as I thought further about what they had shared, I realized how very fortunate I am. Most women who go back to work cannot take their child with them. There isn't even a question of possibility. And even many clergywomen aren't allowed to take their infants to work, for whatever reason. But I serve an amazingly supportive church who trusts me to know when it will be ok and when it won't and to plan accordingly, without restrictions.
I am so very blessed!