I had hoped to write this sooner.
That has been my mantra all month. It’s not that I do not want to write, or that I have not got anything to say; it’s that writing takes time, and so do other things, and I have not yet mastered the art of doing all the things, full throttle, on time and under budget and in top form on every occasion. I am strongly motivated by deadlines but that does not mean I always succeed at keeping them.
And the world, this modern 24-7-365 interconnected world that does not ever sleep, it just keeps on happening while I am trying to catch up to it, or doing other things. Perhaps this is how being human works these days. It is, at least, how I am doing it: by littles, as time permits.
So I would like first to express my appreciation to Rev. Lammert for her quick reply to my open letter earlier this month. I am grateful for open communication and to confirm that the conversations about process that are happening in my circles are also happening elsewhere. I still hope that eventually we will be able to have those conversations with all stakeholders at the same table at the same time, but that is the kind of systemic adaptive change that we have not quite made yet.
I am also tumbling around some thoughts around congregational relationship to ministry. The recent adjustments to our credentialing process have moved congregational sponsorship of the student minister from late in the process (a requirement to schedule the final MFC interview) to much, much earlier in the process – it’s now a requirement for aspirant status, pretty much step one. Those of us in mid-stream just need to get it taken care of.
I feel in general like this will be a good thing going forward, although it presents some challenges for students who do not have a relationship with a congregation. I also feel like having a relationship with a congregation is important for ministerial students, but I think I am biased because I have a good one.
What I am more curious about is, what will the effect of this be on congregations? It seems to me that establishing the relationship between a congregation and a ministerial student early in the student’s formation process serves to draw the congregation more deeply into that process. That might be the intention, or not, but it is going to poke the relationship between congregations and ministry, at least in some cases.
I have a lot more thoughts about this, but the weather is beastly humid and I do not have the spoons to be eloquent right now.