Friday, August 29, 2008

Free To Be You and Mean

We had our monthly lay ministry team meeting last night.

Our pastor is trying to find preaching/presiding experiences for us outside the boundaries of our own congregation, and has been doing some networking around the state to let congregations in interim situations know that we're available to lead on any given Sunday. In going over the list of churches who might be open to such an endeavor he included one that, to maintain its anonymity, I'll call St. Vitus.

St. Vitus is a tiny, pastorless rural mission congregation that is -- what is the PC term? -- troubled. Its couple dozen regular members meet in an inadequate worship space that doesn't encourage growth. And its lay leadership, so I'm told, wants to go off the ELCA reservation in terms of ideas like banning female clergy, and is oh-so-close to winding up in a serious come-to-Jesus meeting with the bishop. And it's an angry congregation, evidently, with people always in a dustup about one thing or the other.

"So," my pastor said cheerfully, "who might be willing to help out at St. Vitus some Sunday?"

We all looked at one another.

"I'm not going back there," announced one of my colleagues -- someone with past professional experience in one of the roughest public school systems in the state. "They're mean."

Then someone noted, snarkily, "If you're passive-aggressive, there might be a certain amusement factor in taking on a service or two."

"You must be crazy," Fellow Traveler informed me when I got home.

Yeah. I must be.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment on the Annie Dillard quote. It's one of my favorites. And congratulations on your house merger with Fellow Traveler! I enjoyed reading some of your recent posts, especially your sermon and your experiences with canning.

Auntie Knickers said...

Wow -- you are brave. I hope the Holy Spirit is not busy elsewhere when you go there.

celticjulia said...

OMG - good luck. And to borrow the words from your semi-son-in-law ... be careful!

Sheryl said...

When our bishop came to meet with my congregation about the whole call process, he told us about a congregation in our synod who has had an interim for over two years because they are unwilling to call a woman. The bishop said he can't really force their hand, but he has been encouraging them to step into the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you are the right person... at the right time... going to the right place... with the right words... (all of which are a God thing)... to show this congregation what God REALLY looks like... and what God REALLY expects disciples to look like! My prayers are with you... but more importantly... God's got your back!

Anonymous said...

God be your help and your shield!

1-4 Grace said...

God will go ahead, beside, under, above and (best of all) behind you!
I am reminded of a seminary profs' saying, " Jesus died for them too."