Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bishops Week II

Worship at this event was awesome - truly awesome! Bishop Hope Morgan Ward preached at all three services. The first was a Service of Holy Communion. In her sermon, Bishop Ward mentioned adoption, special needs ministry, and hope built through pastoral care for a dying parishioner. Needless to say she touched my heart at several points.

The second worship was a Service of Healing and Wholeness. The worship settings (far beyond the altar) for all three services were awesome, but I didn't realize until the second one that each would be different and very appropriate for the specific service. For the Service of Healing and Wholeness, there was a huge (at least 12 feet tall) cross laid at a slight angle from the floor. It had votive candles all along the vertical and horizontal bars. In addition we were given a candle and a shard of a broken clay pot. At the appropriate time, we each placed our candles in one of several terra cotta pots filled with sand. Later we were annointed with oil if we chose.

As the service progressed, I remembered the healing God has already worked in my life. I am by far much healthier mentally and spiritually than I was 20 years ago. I have been healed from a great deal of childhood pain over the years. One of the big "healing moments" in my journey happened when I was a pilgrim on a Walk to Emmaus Weekend. I heard a woman tell a story about verbal and emotional abuse that rang so true with me that it was like that song "Killing Me Softly." I finally began to understand that in God's eyes, I am both lovable and loved. Seated right behind me at this healing service was a woman who had been on the Emmaus Team and at my table when this breakthrough happened. Now she's the wife of a Bishop. It was great to give her a big hug of thankfulness following the service.

My struggles with migraines for a couple of months leading up to this event made me ripe for this service. While at Bishop's week, I attended two Yoga classes and two "Late Night Relaxation" classes. This service happened between the Yoga classes. Healing had already begun. My head,neck, and shoulders were loosening up in ways they hadn't in months if not years. The second round of classes made a huge difference. I have continued Yoga classes since my return and have only taken migraine meds once in the last 3 1/2 weeks!

This healing service was just one part of a lot of physical and mental letting go that made this seminar on health ministries a turning point in my own physical, spiritual, and emotional health. More on this in later posts.

The third service was a Remembrance of Baptism. Again the worship setting was awesome - the whole altar area (read stage) was draped in a yards and yards long piece of fabric woven in all shades of turquise and blue. We had our own fabric river leading right to the font. Again the preaching was touching and meaningful and the music was incredible.

Thank you Lord for the blessings of these worship experiences and again as I recall them. Amen.

Tell me about a meaningful worship experience you've had.

Bishop's Week...

was several weeks ago, but there's lots of bloggable stuff still left from it. I'll break it down into several posts so you don't get too bogged down.

The theme of the week was Health Ministries. I went for two reasons. First, because I am the staff liaison to the Conference Health and Welfare Committee. I also was asked to take a display showing the work of the Disability Concerns Committee I co-chair. They were having a ministry fair where different churches told about what they are doing in health ministries.

I fell into the liaison position because Disability Concerns falls under Health and Welfare... However, I have learned so much about how churches can use even the simplest health ministries to reach out into their communities. I never expected this to be a new area of calling for me, but apparently it is. I didn't learn much at Bishop's week that I hadn't heard at another conference last fall, but I did get re-energized to grow these ministries in our conference.

Does your church have any kind of health based ministry? If so what?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Five - Exercise

For some reason I can't paste the Friday Five I've successfully copied from RevGalBlogPals into this post, so I'm just going to type the short version.

1. What was your favorite sport or outdoor activity as a child.
Playing - just plain playing. I lived on a deadend street with anywhere from 10-30 kids. We played all the time. We played at the playground at the end of the street. We played in "the woods" (a wooded vacant lot). We played in the creek behind the houses on the other side of the street from my house. We played freeze tag. We played blind-man's bluff. We even had seasons where we would play one game for a few weeks, then switch. In the winter, which isn't long here, we would play Monopoly afterschool. When it was time to go home to dinner, we just slid the board under the bed with all the pieces on it until the next day. I wonder if kids just play much any more.

2. P.E. Class - Heaven or the other place.
The other place definitely. No physical skills (coordination, speed, aim...) here. I still close my eyes when a ball comes my way.

3. What is your favorite form of exercise now?
I ride an elyptical trainer for cardio and do strength training on machines at the Y. Some days I like these a lot. Some days not as much. Recently I've started doing "Gentle Yoga." This has made a huge difference in my headaches and overall well being. So this I like!

4. Do you like to work out solo or with a partner.
Solo! I put the MP3 player earbuds in and shut the world out.

5. Inside or outside?
Inside. It's 105 degrees here! I like to be outside in nature, but not for exercise. Hiking and biking are good during those months when it's not too hot.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bold New Look.

4 years ago when I went from contacts back to glasses because my aging eyes could no longer read through my contacts that corrected for astigmatism and nearsightedness, I wanted glasses that didn't show up at all. I had been without glasses on my face for several years and just wasn't used to the look of myself in glasses. So I bought these:

I.liked.them.a.lot. So much so that two years ago when it was time for new glasses, I stuck with the same style.

Now, it's time for new glasses. I'm tired of feeling frumpy and invisible in a lot of ways, so I decided to go with a much bolder look:

The difference is much more visible on my face, but I'm just not up to taking a picture of myself today, so if you know me IRL, you'll just have to wait till you see me. If you just know me through this blog, you'll have to take my word for it... this is a big change. Another part of "The Woman I Want to Be."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Herding Wind

Last week I felt like I was herding ping pong balls - all bouncing in different directions. Well all the deadlines I was facing are met. Now, I have the whole month of July with no deadlines. Get this straight, I have lots and lots to work on, but none of it is actually due in July. I have a couple of meetings each week, but not much in the way of be in x place at x time in the schedule. I have before me a vast plain of unstructured time. Not good for this goal oriented person who spent 38 years having my life scheduled around classes and deadlines.

Now, I feel like I'm herding wind. The stuff to work on is out there, but it's nebulous - hard to get hold of. I've been told I need to make lists, set priorities, make a schedule and set my own deadlines. Yeah, I know that. I'm the queen of lists, priorities, schedules, and especially deadlines. It's just harder with such a long period left for me to structure.

God of eternity, guide the use of my time that it may glorify you. Let me busy, let me be idle as is your will. Amen.

P.S. On another note, according to my psych eval for ordination, my summaries "reveal no significant mental health or personality disorder issues that would prevent me from being an effective parish leader." Whew! That's a relief.

Collars and Pumps

A couple of weeks ago, my Lay Ministry Committee (advisory committee for residency) was discussing my identity as clergy or pastor since I am appointed "beyond the local church." One person suggested that every clergy person should wear a clerical collar at least 3 days a week, especially when going into public places. Now most clergy in my denomination don't wear collars, but a few do. He went on to discuss how some clergy who come to our office have an "air" of clergy about them. It is definitely part of their identity. Others don't have that air everywhere they go, but seem to put on that identity when needed.

I asked myself, "When do I wear a virtual clerical collar?" When do I carry that identity and authority and where don't I?" I've been stewing over this for several days. There have been plenty of days in the last year when my position seemed more administrative than pastoral, but I think that can happen for pastors appointed in the local church as well.

Then, as I got dressed one morning this week and opted for pumps instead of casual flats, I realized my pumps are one way I put on that virtual collar. When I worked at the hospital, I gave up any form of shoes that weren't flat with plenty of support. I was on my feet a lot with 900 beds on 11 floors. When I walked into a room and introduced myself as the chaplain, the collar was on - real or not. Shoes didn't matter. When I left the hospital, I stuck with my flats. Now, I'm short and round and flat shoes make me look shorter and rounder. When I wear pumps with a moderate heel, I stand straighter and walk with more authority. HMMMM. Interesting. Pretty much the only time I wear pumps has been when I'm preaching or leading a meeting - in other words when I'm being pastoral. So the current line of thinking is, if I need to extend that identity to more of my days and more of my functions, then perhaps I should forego the flats a little more often.

For some of you, this discussion with myself may seem odd. I know folks who think either you are, or you aren't clergy, but after 20 years as a special education teacher, my professional identity has been slowly changing. I knew I was making progress when at a Support Group for Parents of Children with Special Needs, my first concern was for their theological understanding of disability before worrying about "teacher" type concerns.

This aha moment is brought to you courtesy of some work I'm doing in terms of "The Woman I Want to Be." Watch for upcoming blogs.