Well, it's been a while. A lot has gone on in the life of the ol' revster
Where do I start—oh yes, at the end. It's always good to start at the ending. I have resigned from a number of committees and boards that I have been on. That, in itself, (to quote the ex-con Martha Steward) is "a good thing." And … I said (wait for it…) "No" to when I was asked to join yet more committees. (I may just be learning.)
So, I have been on the Seaway Valley Presbytery (SVP) Executive pretty much for a dozen years: As chair of Finance, convenor of Pensions and Group Insurance, chair-elect/chair/past chair (twice)…then as chair of SVP you end up on the executive of Montreal and Ottawa Conference, where I also served in the Conference Interview Board. And not only that, I have been elected to two consecutive General Councils (GC)—which meant pre-GC meetings/GC meeting—then post-GC meetings.
Oh, and I transitioned into the Transition Commission for Region 12, which became the Executive of Eastern Ontario Outaouais Region (EOOR) [I choose not to add the "council" it seem pretentious, ha ha]. I found myself on the EOOR AGM planning team, and looking after Music and Worship, Finance, Camping, etc. They wanted me in YAYA (youth and young adult) but that's when I said , "No."
I am also on the Rideau Hill Camp Council, representing the former SVP and not EOOR, and am on the Board of the House of Lazarus doing the same. I belong to three Masonic organizations and last year I was the Grand Chaplain of the Ontario Masons. I also have four churches, with four Boards of Managers, a Joint Session, and a Church Council. I have been on the Board of Cruxifusion, which is a group of United Church Ministers committed to keeping Christ at the Centre. I tried to be a part of the Kemptville Pride Planning, but there were conflicts at every level. And as the pressure built. As you, I hope, can imagine with all the other work of ministry within a pastoral charge I found myself getting tired and cranky. And I began to take it out on family and friends and ask the most tiresome of questions: "Why me?" And then I read this:
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?
Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it,
Why hast thou made me thus?
- Romans 9:20 (King James Version)
So I thought and I prayed, and I talked to good friends, and my wife (who is also, by the way [btw], a good friend!) and prayed and thought.
And I resigned from the Board of Cruxifusion because I can serve it without having to lead it. And I resigned from the EOOR Executive—a dozen years in leadership is enough for anyone—and it was time for new people and new ideas. And I resigned from Finance and YAYA, well just cuz.
I'm going to stay on Rideau Hill Camp and House of Lazarus because they are local and vital and I love 'em. And in Masons I transferred to one group that is more local—so I won't be travelling as much—and I'm determined not to take on any leadership roles for a long while so I can learn as I go.
And I am determined, in my ministry with my folks in Hallville, Heckston, Inkerman and South Mountain that I will be present in the community, that I will visit, that I will read the books that need to be read , and I am going to try to work with our new Child and Youth Coordinator. Yay Jen!! And maybe with some of the young families and singles.
I remember in Home Ec class—yes, I am that old that I took Home Economics, and typing too—we were to make pizza from scratch one class. I remember making the dough and then trying to stretch it out in the pizza pan. And I remember it getting stretched so thin that you could see the pan through it. And it burned out.
You get what I'm saying. I think that if this is what is happening to me and maybe it might be happening to a whole bunch of people. I also think that there are some really amazing people right now doing a lot of stuff—and they hate it—but they care so much for their friends, family and neighbours that they feel that if they don't do it, it won't get done.
And they are right; it won't get done.
But unless it's doing CPR compressions, or operating the nuclear power plant, nobody is going to die if it doesn't get done. They might be inconvenienced. They might get a little pouty. They might even notice, and realize all the work YOU have been doing.
But probably not.
Jesus, you see, was the Son of God. But he had 12 assistants. And then when they were busy, they got help (see Acts 6: 1-6). I finally realized that all the work that I had been doing is going to get done by other people, who will probably do it better than me. And thank God for that.
But there are things that I like to do, that I think I'm good at, that I think God has called me to. So RHC, H of L, and the Candidacy Board , which helps people through the process of becoming a United Church minister. It's called discernment. When you do it intentionally your life flows. When you don't, you end up like me: A mess. May you find time to discern God's purposes for you.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,
plans for your welfare and not for harm,
to give you a future with hope.
- Jeremiah 29:11 (New Revised Standard Version)