As we approach the end of a year we could never have imagined, the strange Advent blend of wonder and exhaustion seems amplified. Like many, my energy has ebbed and flowed unpredictably. Overall, I feel I am doing quite well. Then on a recent trip to the dentist she asked, “are you stressed?” My teeth revealed that ministry in a pandemic continues to be more challenging than I admit out loud.
In addition to pivoting to new forms of online and drive-through ministry, in recent months I have been working on finishing my paperwork for ordination as a deacon in the United Methodist Church, parenting teenagers – one of whom is applying for college, and enjoying connecting with other faith formation leaders through this website. It is a very “yes, and” season.
Sunday it was announced that I will be taking on a new role as the Associate Minister/Pastor for Discipleship, adding Adult Education and Communications to my portfolio. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to answer God’s call to lead ministries of faith formation for all ages.
In the midst of ordination and new responsibilities I am paying attention to my energy and the limits of what I am able to do well. My intention is to slow down in certain areas in order to focus on others. I share the following things I will be doing that it might inform those who read this website and inspire others who may need to catch their breath:
- Writing monthly instead of weekly for this website.
- Grounding myself in gratitude for rich, nurturing relationships, meaningful work, and health.
- Walking regularly as a spiritual practice – even in winter.
- Dancing to loud music with my teenager in the evenings.
- Paying attention to the ebb and flow of energy as the pandemic continues.
Looking at ministry beyond Christmas, we will be focusing on simple, tangible, online ministry, building on our Advent momentum. The current plan is to offer a Godly Play Family Chapel, our 3rd Grade Bible Milestone class, and “Drawing Closer to God” – an online artful exploration of picture books, including Roger Hutchinson’s brand new book Faces: A Love Story.
My hope is to weave together a collection of resources for January, including Epiphany and Baptism of the Lord, later this week. In the meantime, please pray with me:
God who became flesh, what glorious, impossible things you create with the simplest of ingredients: love, joy, faith and hope. In a world of uncertainty, you invite us into mystery. Guide us through this season that we might help prepare the way for all you have promised is coming. Amen.