Fifteen years ago I was ordained in my home congregation, making vows and promises that I truly meant. Yet I also felt unsettled, because ordination in the Lutheran church is aimed specifically at pastoral leadership in a congregation. I knew that I was not called to that type of ministry for the long-term, but something more creative. I just could not picture it yet. My firsthand knowledge of women pastors being both mothers and leaders was seriously lacking, and I knew I wanted to be a mother.
I knew God had called me to seminary.
I knew I had some skills for the work of congregational ministry from my various internship experiences.
And I knew God had more imaginative things in mind for me than what I would do at first.
In the past 2 summers I have not even been in leadership on my ordination day, and it seemed strange to mark it in any public way. I’ve been writing, of course, which I am now clear is at least half of my calling in ministry and life. Yet I had specifically not taken interim work that would make summer childcare tricky, so I was not working on July 23rd.
This year, I am in an interim that gives me a letter of call, but… we are in the midst of a pandemic, and therefore a time of intense adaptation. Strangely, this is perhaps the clearest I have been about the ministries to which I am ordained. Rather than a distinct picture, my calling has come into view more as a constellation, where the combination of the stars together create the outline. I enjoy interim ministry because preaching, asking questions and challenging the status quo are more my gifts than pastoral care and building relationships, which are so valued in settled pastorates with no end date.
But I also thrive off the public voice of writing that can be shared around the Church AND outside of its typical audience. I have now written the book that I needed to read, on how being a mother and pastor simultaneously is not only possible, but reveals new ways of seeing God’s actions. I am gleefully anticipating this book’s launch in September!
I am a connector, and editing and recruiting new voices from around the Church to write for The Faith+Leader online platform gives me energy and allows me to access my networks and amplify voices I want others to hear. This liminal time is forcing the church to change more quickly than any other time in living memory and change is what I’ve been longing for in the life of the Church for so long. I want us to re-think the patterns and priorities for followers of Jesus, and now we have no choice but to do so. It may have taken 15 years to see it clearly, but this is the constellation of ministries to which I am called, which together form a better whole picture that I could have imagined.
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash
2 thoughts on “My Ordination Anniversary and a Constellation of Ministries”
Congratulations on your ordination anniversary! I am so glad you have found a path or paths appropriate for your talents and gifts and the balance of work and family life.
All best Beth
Sent from my iPhone
I was witness to your ordination, my dearest niece! It was crystal clear then that you belonged on the cutting edge for women of faith, helping to redirect the path of the church in ways that are yet to be revealed. You are opening doors, throwing open windows and tearing down walls! All this with graceful calmness and a pen in your hand (or a keyboard at your finger tips!) May your life’s work expand beyond the stars and planets!