Our Sabbatical together has begun. We won't be fully into it until I have gone a day without email from Kevin but I understand that the separation process takes time.
I have questions but most of the questions I have found I have also found answers for. Pete Eggebrecht gave me a tour of the church this morning. My computer will now connect to the printer. I am working out how to categorize email so I can find it later. I am settling in.
It seems to me that my job is first of all to reassure folks that everything is going to be okay. This is easily the least challenging part of my job. The lay leadership here is both so competent and so eager that you could probably get along fine without me. But there are two areas that folks seem to want support for. Those are Sunday Worship and Pastoral Care.
Sunday Worship is coming together very well. I have had to get my head around the two services [the services have some similar features but they are quite different in feel and flow]. I will be meeting next week with Val Detjen to be sure I am on the same page with the Worship Commission.
Pastoral Care is a bit more challenging. There are several reasons for this.
- It is hard for people who have been reliant on Kevin to transfer that relationship to someone else; especially when that someone else is going to be gone in four months.
- It is important that I not be generating dependency for just those reasons.
- These are people I am just meeting with complex histories and inter-relationships.
I met with Membership Care yesterday and they are figuring out how to shoulder their tasks. I am confident they are going to do a great job. But as you become aware of pastoral care needs, don't hesitate to let me know.
But there is a component of what we are called to do during this Sabbatical, and thus a component of what I am called to as your pastor, that we didn't really talk about and that I didn't anticipate but which I am quite willing to take up.
There are some things that are ready for change here at Parkway. I just changed the title of my sermon for Sunday from Healthy, to Healthy Change. A part of being healthy is being willing to change, to know what change is necessary and which is not, and be able to make the changes smoothly and without unnecessary disruption. We are not expecting Kevin to return the end of October just as he was when he left. If when he gets back, we are just as he left us, he will be disappointed.
Change for the sake of change becomes an unnecessary disruption. But to avoid change when it is helpful is not healthy. It is pathological. The trick is to know which change is called for and how to do it in such a way that things are better for the change.
You all have such a close relationship with Pastor Kevin, and he is so close to all of you, that there are ways that your mutual expectations keep you stuck. We may know we need change. We may even long to change. But we don't have the space for the change to occur. That is what Sabbath is for.
Kevin put a lot of effort into cleaning his office for me. Still there are several cluttered shelves. I teased him that I would clear them off while he was gone. He responded, "Oh, please." He knows there are things he has to let go of but it is hard. Our task is to figure out what to keep and what to throw away so we can start fresh.
Join us this Sunday
for Traditional Worship at 9:30am and/or Informal Worship at 11:00am when our scriptures will be
Galatians 5:1,13-25 and
with a sermon entitled Healthy Changes.