Thursday, October 06, 2005

Moving on

Several of you inquired in comments on my last post about what comes next for the members of my congregation and for me. I'll take these separately.

When we first began discussing the reality of closure, I wondered if it might be best for most of our members to transfer together to another Presbyterian Church close by--perhaps even making some of our assets available to that church, (with Presbytery approval etc, etc.) We have done VBS cooperatively with one nearby larger church for nearly a decade. This has always been a positive experience for those who participated, so to me this looked like a potential "match". I invited their co-pastors to visit a session meeting and say a few words about their congregation, it's vision for the future, yada yada yada. Our folks listened politely and asked some thoughtful questions. After they left, however, there was no groundswell of enthusiasm for joining forces with them in any official way. So I didn't push it. I do think some of our folks will end up there once all the dust settles.

I think the bottom line is that our members are still in mourning and not ready to commit to another relationship at this point. Most of them have talked to me about various churches they plan to visit: places they already have connections through friends or family, churches that have programs that are especially suited to the needs of their household; churches who have taken vocal stands on issues that are important to them--one family is even making the choice based in large part on which sanctuary is most wheelchair accessable for their increasingly mobility impaired grandmother. (Make note of this all of you who are wondering if that wheelchair ramp/elevator is worth all the trouble and expense.) I think most of them will settle into other church homes over the course of the next year.

Sadly, for some of our folks their sense of "church" is so completely identified with our congregation and their personal/family history there, that I don't think they will ever fully become part of the life of another congregation. I'd like to do a little butt-kicking to the younger folks for whom this is true, but my heart goes out to the elderly who are losing their church home at this stage of their lives.

As for me--I'm seeking another call. Anyone familiar with the Presbyterian call process knows that this process is painfully slow--both for pastors seeking new calls and for congregations seeking pastors. I'm trying to be patient. Actually, I don't mind a bit of a rest between gigs, but if it goes on too long it will be a financial hardship for us. I'll probably do some pulpit supply work as well.

We are taking some time to visit our friends' churches, go to mass with my RC husband, and (unheard of for clergy families), take some WEEKEND TRIPS!


Quotidian Grace said...

Thanks for the update on you and your congregation. Putting two congregations together is a good idea, but I've seldom see it happen in practice. Enjoy your weekend trips. Since Oregon has some great wineries, have a wine tour while you can!

SpookyRach said...

Yay for Mass and Weekend Trips! I hope the next placement you have (is that the right term?) is a perfect fit.

reverendmother said...

Are you portable? I can keep my ears open for something around here if you want to make a BIG move...

Friday Mom said...

Best wishes with the call process. In the meantime, enjoy the free weekends.

Lorna said...

thank you for sharing this.

bless you all - it must be heart breaking in so many ways.

God is the God of new wine and new wine skins and I bless the transition period for you all.

Weekends off and visits to friends sound very healing and FUN just now.

be blessed :)