Thursday, January 12, 2006

Back from NYC; post-visitation

A travel week, really.

After we welcomed Bp. Coleridge to the parish for an annual Bishop's Visitation, I went to the Epiphany bonfire, slept-went down Monday to Ardmore for Freshstart-traveled to Paoli to visit a parishioner-got home late, slept-got up early and drove to NYC for two days at GTS, my seminary for a meeting on a Captial Campaign in which they are trying to raise $15 million, of which the alumni/ae (me and the rest of o'us poor clergy) are being asked to give just over $1 million to establish a faculty chair in Christian Education. Then, home and one day of work to get a week's worth of work done.

I am always amazed by the spirit and energy that is present when I re-enter the seminary Close. There is a such a sense of anticipatory peace that seem to flow in and around those buildings. Even when the students are not there, I get a sense of there being a purpose to that one block of Manhattan. Some of it, I am sure, rises from my own reminiscences of being on the Close for my own formation. But really, I get the sense of time having moved on from me. What heartens me is that the seminary is for people being formed NOW for ministry, both lay and ordained, in the Church. For all the little dramas and worries, for all the stresses of life in a tight environment, I am convinced that GTS does offer some of the best training for priests in the Church today. I guess that is a good thing. I am a class agent and a member of the executive committee charged with raising money for the place.

And then, back to Trinity. Ah, I wish I could say it was all wine and roses...Not that even wine and roses were ever wine and roses, really? But, there is a lot going on. Expectations are appropriately high. Things have gone very well these past nine months. We have weathered a tough financial storm. There is good energy on the vestry. There is transition in the air, still with shifts in population and the changes of the coming quarter (delivery of the organ, a new date for annual meeting, etc.). The ground is churned up and I am feeling it.

I guess that means I feel like the rector's collar is weighing heavily on my neck of late. I honestly can't make everyone happy. Resources are stretched thin, including the energy and time of the staff. We could use a full-time clergy person, an assistant. Money just isn't there. Energy and time need to be spent in pastoral care issues, but administration and polity also place demands on my time. Somedays, it all presses in; but then, that is parish ministry in a nutshell. Each role of the rector is truly a fulltime job. He is a pastor, a preacher, a teacher, a boss, a leader of committees and ministries, a vision-keeper, an archivist, a friend, a headmaster, a CEO, a stage manager, an editor, a guide, a welcoming presence. And, of course, he is also a husband, a friend and a person.

Mid-year is a tough time. After Christmas and before Easter is a relative no-man's land for most clergy and staff. We have our heads down into the thickest part of the program year. There is a lot at stake. We are trying to keep all the balls in the air. Some bounce. There is always a degree of catchup.

So, each day is calmly, I hope, embraced with prayer and resolve to work through the demands of the schedule, making sure to connect-truly-with the people of God along the way.

God watch over us all in the coming weeks. It never does seem to slow down!

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