Sunday, June 29, 2008

Were You Been Taylor?

I am too tired to do any more packing or work tonight. I realize I haven't posted in a while. So, this is just a mindless update. The movers come early Tuesday morning, and Cynthia leaves tomorrow for a three day meeting at Emory. She has such timing! But she's gotten most of the kitchen stuff done, and yes, a lot of other stuff (that's in case she reads this).

We pack differently. She goes through the items, discards what we haven't used in a while and makes a pile for give-away. I just pile stuff in boxes and haul it over to the new house. I'll have to sort through my stuff as I unpack it. She's a lot smarter than me, but of course that isn't anything new.

The new house the church bought is beautiful and it is going to make a very nice parsonage. Tuesday is also when they recarpet my office at the church. So, most all of my office stuff is sitting in the back of the chapel or out in the hall. I just keep reminding myself that soon we will get settled again.

Went to a nice church dinner at Cynthia's new church today. Met a lot of her members. It seems they are a congregation that likes to have fun together, which is probably a lethal combination with Cynthia's sense of humor.

The rest of the afternoon was spent at our last Conference delegation meeting, preparing for the upcoming Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. That will take place in a couple of weeks at Lake Junaluska. The big issue is the election of a new bishop. We feel Tim McClendon has an excellent chance of being elected, but who knows how the voting will go until the first ballot results are announced. As a politician once told me, "Not everyone who says they voted for you actually did so." Tim would be a great bishop if elected and I hope others see in him the qualities that led us to nominate him.

In the midst of all this craziness of life, little kindnesses are such energy boosters. I came in tonight and dear member had dropped off sandwiches for us to eat while packing, and another had made my favorite pecan biscotti to munch on. Blessed? Why yes, yes I am.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tired of Green

I finally took some time last night and caught up on blog reading. Seems a lot of other bloggers are busy as well, either with moving or trips or whatever, and so the posts are sporadic. The exception of course is my brother Tom at Random Connections, who keeps way too much going on.

I added three new links to my blog list. Balance, by fellow UM pastor Steve Patterson, is a beautifully done blog that I enjoy checking in on. Steve's blog is just in a whole other class. Ray Reavis is a computer guru and great guy who's dealing with this whole ministry thing. And Syd Smith at Sunny Words 4 Shady People is a wonderful friend, who knows all things music, nearly always has an interesting opinion on things, and has decided to try blogging. I hope he'll stick with it and find his rhythm.

I keep thinking I'll get around to changing my site, updating it with a new picture and header. I'm starting to get tired of the green format. Maybe I'll go with sunshine yellow, which is the color my daughter chose for her new bedroom! August 1 is the first anniversary of this site, so maybe by then I can figure out how to make format changes and put together something new and "refreshing."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

When life is a mess, and more.

With all that's going on right now - a busy time with our Aldersgate Special Needs Ministry, construction at the church, our Capital Campaign wrapping up, and preparing a new parsonage for moving in and the present one for selling - I walked into my office this morning to find the carpet saturated with oily water! A pipe had not been properly capped off during the replacement of the HVAC plumbing.

Not only that, when the line blew, the water shot up the wall and sprayed all over notebooks and files I had set on a small table to organize by projects. This included a historic album the Archives Committee had brought me to look at! Nothing to do but to call for help, move the furniture into the hall, start wiping up the mess, and send for a water vacuum. Our new secretary said she was impressed that she didn't hear any expletives during all this!

I had thought my church office would be my "sanctuary" of stability during all this moving business. So much for my plans! Today I'll try to sort the essentials into a working cubby until the Trustees get the walls washed down and the carpet replaced. I guess you really can't organize disaster. When life is a mess, you live through it.

Speaking of things in upheaval, this is moving day for pastors in our conference. My prayers today are for these pastors and the churches involved. That group includes my wife, but thankfully, not me. Yet when I got in last night from a late meeting her somber mood reminded me of the difficulty of saying goodby to people you love and with whom you have shared life and ministry. It is tough, and you don't have time to catch your breath, much less grieve. The next day there's a new congregation waiting to greet you.

Next year our Conference moving date will move to the last Wednesday of the month of June, further extending the "lame duck" period. Wish there was a way we could designate the week just before moving as "off duty" for those involved in a move. We could use our Retired Pastors and Lay Speakers to fill the pulpit that last Sunday and handle pastoral emergencies and visits during that week. Better yet, it wouldn't count as vacation.

Moving pastors could use the week as they choose, packing, family time, leisure activities, or whatever would help them make the transition from one flock to another. Perhaps some of the time could be spent in prayer and reflection on the ministry coming to an end, and assessing how to take the lessons learned into the new setting. Time perhaps for cleaning up some of the mess, before living into another one?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Passing the Baton

Had supper with a friend who is changing jobs, a good thing for him. In our conversation we talked about the things he'd accomplished and the things he wished he'd accomplished, and I shared the same with him. Then he said something that maybe isn't new, but still was so appropriate to his situation, and, I thought, to the many ministers who are moving to new appointments this time of year.

He said that when he worked in Child Protective Services the analogy they frequently used was the "passing of the baton." When the baton (the child, the job, the congregation, whatever) comes to you, you run the race the best you can. Then you focus on making a good transfer to the next person and you let go of it. That baton is no longer yours to carry and if you try to hold on to it, the next person will get no where with it.

I pray that there won't be any dropped batons in the transfers made this summer. May those moving trust God as they let go. Besides, another "baton" will quickly be coming your way.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dare To Change The World

We have been at the SC Annual Conference this week and the theme for the Conference is Dare To Change The World. Yesterday was our Day of Service and the delegates dispursed throughout the Florence area to do mission projects.

I gave blood, then helped some with the sorting and distribution of the school supplies and hygiene kits. There were a lot of supplies collected by the churches and sent to the Conference this year. The first picture is of some of the supplies before sorting. The second picture is of Bishop Taylor visiting with a lady while volunteers worked on cleaning her yard.

It has been a quiet Conference for me. Good to see friends. The ordination service is always special, and the preaching has been very good. Here on the last day a lot of business will be conducted, but hopefully it will all run smoothly. Then it's home to packing for a lot of ministers.