Monthly Archives: April 2013

First Friday Five….

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Littleman's Robin

Littleman’s Robin

The final push to getting myself together and a starting a blog was my recent joining a group of folks (mostly female clergy but certainly not limited) known as the RevGalBlogPals.  They are a wonderful group that has already offered much insight, encouragement and a fair dose of laughter to my life.  One of the things they do (and they do a lot) is something called Friday Five.  Each Friday there are 5 different questions or blogging prompts and whomever chooses plays along by answering and/or reflecting in some way on that Fridays Famous Five.  Today is my first time playing and hopefully I manage to get all the links right, if not I’ll retry tomorromy when I’m at my desk.  So here goes….The Friday Five blogger today writes and asks:

Can you believe it is April 12????  Have you finished your taxes?  Here in Boston, the city is abuzz with Boston Marathon anticipation.  We are finally hearing birds chirp in the morning, and even though it was in the low thirties last night, many of us are bravely sporting open-toed sandals.   None of this has anything to do Friday Five, except randomness.   So, in that spirit……

1.  How are you doing?  What’s going on in your life?

Overall, I am doing well.  I’m in the midst of some significant opportunities for pastoral care, with the death of a prayer warrior and pillar of the church I serve.  I love standing on this Holy Ground with folks I am called to care for.  It also reminds me of some of the joys in ministry and why I love being a pastor.  However, all that being said, I’m also very exhausted and my body is starting to rebel a bit and my pain levels are increasing a bit.

2.  Have you ever resigned from a position?  What was the good-bye like?

Yes – have resigned from 3 churches and several part time jobs that helped sustain me while serving those 3 churches (although on 1 of those jobs would I classify as significant as I worked there for 6 years).  Announcing that we had accepted new calls was always met with mixed emotions – some where happy we were leaving, some were angry and hurt and others didn’t really care.  One of the churches was so hard to leave, it was our first call, so we grew a lot as pastors and as a couple (we were married less than a year when move arrived there).  The congregation had a wonderful celebration of our ministry and the children created a scrapbook for us of the things they remember most about us.  Yet we knew it was time to move on.  The next two calls were easier to say goodbye and at times harder to know why we were called in the first place,  however with time we were able to see clearly that God had called us and God had used us.

Now, my job at Hallmark (during the call before the one we have now) was a gift.  I loved my bosses and loved my customers.  Even though neither of my bosses (the owners) were Christian we had a deep respect for one another and I truly felt as if they would be there for me no matter what.  I trusted them and in turn they trusted me.  I cried big tears when I told them we were moving and I cried bigger tears when I had to hand in my key and say good-bye.  My bosses were so gracious and kept telling me we were doing what was best for our family.  Indeed but I truly miss them and I worked with some good co-workers who I became a lot of things to a a pastor at times, a mom like figure at times, a friend, and the mean co-worker who made them work.

3. So, we are still resurrecting…still getting used to New Life!!  What is a source of new life for you?

The Lord is risen.  The Lord is risen indeed!   Yes we are still resurrecting and in the Easter season….so new life, lets see.  Its spring in North Carolina (at least right now) so the trees are budding, the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing joyous songs.  My seven year old littleman really wanted a bird feeder.  So last week I bit the bullet and bought a bird feeder, hook/stand, bird seed and a water dispenser.  We placed it outside of my office window, my office is in the parsonage.  I not only get to see, watch, and marvel at my little ones excitement as he checks the birder feeder and hopes to see a bird but I also get to have my window open and hear the birds chirping and I catch a glimpse of a few of them when I remember to look up from my desk.  Ahh the reminders of new life!    A bonus has been watching my little one draw birds – I wonder where he got such talent.

4.  My friend is running the marathon on Friday, because it is on her bucket list.  What is something on your bucket list?

This is a tough one, not been much of a bucket list writer.  To be a better knitter, to meet up with some of my online Knitbits Friends and others who I’ve been blessed to know because of online social networks, to take quality vacations with my boys (we so rarely do that, doesn’t have to be grand but just being away).

5.  Tell us about one precious thing (tangible) you keep around your house, your altar, your pocket, and what is its story?

Really just one?  How about 3…….My IPad (I know that sounds lame but I have my reasons).  My iPad is a means of communicating with those whom I love and can’t always see, it holds lots of pictures of those I love and things I encounter,, it holds a library of Kindle books, and a plethora of knitting patterns.  My knitting needles -Addi Clicks – a gift from a friend, a way she used to say thanks for the care and support I had given her and her husband during his decline in health and ultimately his passing and for my knitting a prayer shawl for a friend of hers who was facing chemo treatments herself.  This was a gift totally unexpected and I am still in awe of it! Knitting calms my inner most being and helps draw me closer to my God.  Lastly, I would say a moleskin journal and colorful pens (Every good journal needs some color).  I also have different moleskin journals for different meetings.

Well that its – Fridays over but it’s been fun playing my first round of Friday Fives.  I look forward to more.  Thanks RevGalBlogPals!

Blessed

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BaptismBaptism is a gift of God!  The Moravian Church has two sacraments: Baptism and Communion.  As a pastor I am almost always the officiant and worship leader when either of these two take place.  Don’t get me wrong, as I stand robed in my surplice (the liturgical garment worn by moravians upon administering the sacraments) I am aware that I’m standing on Holy Ground.  There are times that I’m moved to tears as I share the body and blood of Christ or offer the words of blessing over the waters of baptism.  These moments of ministry are life giving in many ways.

Regardless of how moving these moments are there is little that prepared for the the two times I’ve stood on the other side of  Baptism.  The first moment was at my son’s baptism.  He was 13 months old when Bishop Burkette poured the waters of baptism over him.  Baptism that day was his formal welcome into the Christian Church (at that time we were serving at First Moravian Church of Georgia) and it was also a binding time for our family as his adoption had been made final just 2 months before.

With both my husband and I being ordained clergy, either one or both of us could have baptized our son but we wanted to be mommy and daddy in that moment.  We wanted to stand with the sponsors we had chosen and proclaim the covenant of baptism with and for him.  Bishops in the Moravian Church’s primary function is to be a pastor to pastors and so we found it appropriate to ask Bishop Burkette to participate in this special moment.  My littleman is now 7 and I marvel at all he has learned about the unconditional love of God and Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

The second time that I stood on the other side of the baptismal font was this past Sunday as my husband and I were Godparents for some dear friends (who are also a clergy couple).  I was so excited and honored to be asked to be this sweet little girl’s God-Mother.  I didn’t really think this moment would come – after all I’m usually the officiant.

The week prior to her baptism was tough for me, I was hurting and exhausted.  I was recovering from the events of Holy Week and Easter.  On top of that we were hosting the Board of World Mission of Moravian Church at our church for their bi-annual meeting.  Folks from both the Northern and Southern Province of the Moravian Church (as well as our partner provinces, folks from Guyana, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, the East West Indies, Labrador, Tanzania) filled our fellowship hall and on Saturday evening filled the back yard of the parsonage as we gathered around an outdoor fire for fellowship.

So what does this have to do with being a God-Mother?  Six hours of travel!  Her baptism was to be held in Ohio and we live in North Carolina.  I was torn, I wanted to be there but I knew that wasn’t a practical option.  Saturday evening great JOY filled my heart as I exchanged text messages with her parents about how we would just “Skype” us in, allowing us to be “virtually” present.  Then I said, “why not use FaceTime?”  We all had iPhones and it would be so easy to do it that way rather than mess with a computer.  After consultation with the Bishop that was officiating at her baptism we agreed that near the end of the sermon they would FaceTime me. It was during the beginning part of our scheduled worship at Fries, so I sat in the living room of the parsonage, while my husband began worship and waited for my phone to ring.  As soon as it rang I felt transported to Ohio.  I heard the concluding part of the sermon and was present through the baptismal liturgy.

As Bishop Sapp asked:  “As you present yourselves before God and this congregation, we call upon you to profess your faith.  Do you believe in God as your Creator and loving heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, and in the Holy Spirit as your Comforter and Sustainer, according to the Holy Scriptures?”  I was able to say “I do”.

As the liturgy of Baptism continued I was able to proclaim “I do” to the last two questions asked of the parents and sponsors:

“Do you in this faith turn away from sin, evil, and selfishness in our thoughts, words and actions; and do you intend to participate actively in Christ’s church serving God all the days of your life?”

“Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, do you promise to lead your child by prayer, instruction, and example toward the time when she can by grace confirm her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and commit herself to the life and work of the church?”

I felt as if I moved with her parents as they went up to the baptismal font and heard the congregation sing “An infant we present to thee...” I felt the movement of the Holy Spirit as the liturgy moved on and tears welled in my eyes as I watched Bishop Sapp say “Rain, into the death of Jesus I baptize you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.  And although I wasn’t able to physically reach out and lay my hands upon her I certainly was able to be apart of the blessing:  “Now through God’s grace and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, you have been brought into the covenant; therefore live, yet not you alone, but Christ live in you; and the life which you live now, live by faith in the Son of God, who loved you and gave his life for you.  Now the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord makes his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; The Lord life up his countenance upon you and give you peace; In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

With that our call came to an end – I wiped the tears from my eyes, took a deep breath and walked from the parsonage to church thinking – “Wow that was awesome!” I entered into worship, that had already started, and took my place up front.  When it came time for congregational prayer, I was almost speechless as I tried to share how awesome it was to be able to “be” at her baptism.  By doing so I feel as if I shared her baptism with another Moravian church and the energy after worship was like that when a child in our congregation is baptized. Folks were excited and I showed them a couple of screen shots of the conversation.

In closing, I say that even though I wasn’t there in person for her baptism, I was present in spirit and just as i was only a FaceTime call away to be with her at her baptism, I’ll only ever be a FaceTime, email, or whatever new means of communication are bound to come up, away whenever she needs me!  What an amazing and awesome experience!

*All quotes are taken from the Moravian Book of Worship, Liturgy for Baptism page 165-169