Monday, February 28, 2005

Unwelcome News

I received some unwelcome news this afternoon. In January my senior pastor agreed to introduce me the the Board of Ordained Ministry in lieu of my actual mentor. My mentor is teaching class on Wednesdays and will not be able to attend. I go in front of the board *not* a 22 year old, unattached male. I am older, female and come with a husband and 2 children. This is a strike against me in my conference. Now I will not have anyone to go with me to this meeting -- an occurance that happens in about one of ten candidates. The mentor is to introduce the candidate, to speak on their strengths and weaknesses and to act as the candidate's advocate. Now I will be going alone. I will be OK, however I am more than just irritated. P (my senior pastor) is a good friend, but.... he did not put an important meeting in his calendar. This other meeting involves the Bishop and several District Superintendants. The Board of Ordained Ministry will only meet this one time this Spring. I cannot reschedule -- it's not in my hands. I cannot tell you how irritated I am. My future scholarships depend on this meeting going well.

Now for the tape in the back of my head -- you know the tape.
The one that has been programmed by you past experiences, your relationships with your parents, your early childhood experiences. You think you have erased the tapes and reprogrammed, but sometimes the old music bleeds through. I cannot help but think that P choose the other meeting because it will further his career more that the meeting that means so much to me. He is the chair of this committee for the Bishop -- he would lose much "face" if he cancels or reschedules. And true, the logistics would be overwhelming. I am angry that he did not check his calendar and that he lacks those organizational skills. But (and remember, this comes from my programming from childhood) what should you expect from men? They make promises and then fall through. They choose their own advancement over personal relationships. They abandon you. What do you expect? You always had to find your own way, without help, why should this be different? Now don't those statements speak a world about me? Ha!

15 comments:

daisymarie said...

They definitely speak to your experience. I'm sorry this has happened for you. I remember when I met with our denominational board of orders and relations. It was grilling and grueling. We had no option for an advocate. I was so immature, so naive.

I understand your strike theory, too. I had a DS tell me that he didn't think he could place a woman on his district and never a woman with a family. I still have the letter...and my kids and I pastored for 20 years.

You'll be fine and you will have a heavenly advocate! Can't beat that!

Hugs! Now turn off those tapes!

Kathryn said...

Poor you...that's just a miserable thing to happen, even without the weight of unwanted baggage the situation forced you to reconsider. As daisymarie says, though, you'll be fine. We'll all be praying for you and God doesn't take people so far and then leave them to it..
I'd be really interested to hear how the selection process operates in the USA...it sounds very different from ours, and the training infinitely more demanding and, by the sound of it, helpful. When you've time, do post about this...I'd so love to know.

Songbird said...

Dear, dear reverend mommy. If he is that concerned about his own advancement, he wouldn't have been a good advocate anyway.
Recently, when I was dealing with a death and an impending death on the same day, I realized that what I am really called to do is not so much talk or listen, but to represent, as they say. That's all you have to do. God is working through you and will be with you, and you are called to represent. Not for nothing do we refer to the Holy Spirit as "the Advocate."

St. Casserole said...

Martha is on target. You will have an Advocate with you.
I remember jumping through hoops towards ordination. I believe you will do fine. You've invested a great deal of time into the process as have your committee. Let us know how it goes.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I honestly thought that I was the only one that had that tape run through her head. No matter how much we tape over it, those words seep through when we get stressed. I am sorry that you feel left down. I also know that he knows that you are perfectly capable or he would not allow you to go in there without him. Does the situtation suck? yep. Will you rise above it? Yes Ma'm and we shall be here to cheer you on and to be your prayer cover. All you have to do is mention it and we are there.

Michael said...

You will do superbly.

Take Care
Michael

Chris T. said...

I've had something like this experience, too. The pastor and council at my old church was not only unsupportive of my candidacy in the ELCA, but has also dropped the ball now that I'm only applying for an academic degree in religion.

Stick with it. If you've got the call, you'll end up doing ministry. God won't let you down. ;-)

(And I'll be praying for you, as I'm sure everyone else is.)

Friday Mom said...

Be assured of my prayers too! That's a tough spot. Any chance the mentor who is teaching on the day of your meeting can write a letter to the committee to describe your strengths, growing edges and other things? It's not the same as having someone there, but might help you feel that someone is advocating for you.

Best wishes!

niebuhrian said...

I guess it is not so much the tape that is playing in your head, but the volume at which it plays. It seems as though yours is playing just right, and that is why you will do well before the ordination board.

Having only read this post, it sounds as though you are Methodist, and I ahve several friends who have jumped through those hoops, some have struggled, some have not, but all have survived. I wish you the best as you take the cards stacked against you and have a good game of go fish with them...

Of course, I am reminded of a Methodist minister in my area who once went before a committee that was to approve him, they did not.

When he came back, his mentor said "I heard you went up the mountain and then came back down."

To which he replied sheepishly, "Yup."

The supervisor then said, "well, there you go." And proceeded to walk away.

You may go and succeed, you may go and fail, just as long as you go, and are better for the journey...

grace and peace

Emily said...

I second the suggestion for a letter, since this is going to seem slightly out of the ordinary.

But I also believe that all will be well, all manner of things will be well. The ordination process is screwy, but God does work through it, in it and sometimes even around it.

Peace!

~m2~ said...

i am going to try to be concise in my thoughts (for once).

i agree with michael - you'll do superbly.

and agree with martha - you won't need this gentleman, anyway.

God would not bring you to this point without *having your back* if He felt you needed someone there, He'd provide someone to go with. He believes in you and so do a bunch of folks around these parts.

hearts & flowers,
p

PPB said...

I'm not UMC, but I worked for the denomination for a while, and sat ex officio on this board. We had a student in the same situation bring both a sealed, confidential letter and a videotape (which we didn't watch out of time interests) when his mentor was...uh, in labor. he had planned ahead for this possibility. It will be fine. Your advocate can do something like this for you, or maybe even send an email ahead of time to the committee members. Remember, that is his JOB. And I'm sure he would want to help you out. People have schedules. It really won't be held against you, at least it shouldn't.
Remember, too, that the most important information is going to come from you. And you'll be there, right? Looking fabulous and smelling like a rose?

Preacher Mom said...

I am not UMC, but my denomination also has some pretty stringent and stressful ordination hoops to jump through. The stress of all of them (in addition to all the other things you are juggling) can really turn up the volume on those tapes. A redeeming factor in this is that you recognize your tape for what it is and where it came from. That is more than half the battle right there!

Press that mentor for a letter. It's the very least he can and should do! Then take a deep breath and remember that the One who has brought you this far will go with you the entire distance!

Grace and peace to you.

Bob said...

I thought your comments interesting. I just discovered yor BLOG through some keywords that I had typed in to my RSS agregator to see if things poped up about my church.

I too have those tapes but not just from my dad, but from my mom, my first wife and my current wife.

I have been in counciing in my church and my counciler uses a book called The Search for Significance by Robert S McGee. If you have not read it you might want to pick it up.

Just remember, that woman can be unrliable as men, my failed two marriges show that (I had a part in their failure also). I hope all went well with it since this is an older post.

The Doc

Anonymous said...

Remember that this is just a process. Indeed - it is fraught with twists and turns, political hurdles, and countless other issues. But I think it must similar to the process faced by Jesus. No matter where He went, there were twists and turns, political hurdles and, even His 12 trusted advisors couldn't hang with Him consistently.

Suit up with God's armour and stay focused. He's brought you to this point and will remain with you through all He's called you to do. Rest in Him and let His peace rest in you.

Turn off the existing tapes and crank up the ones of praise and worship, Sister Reverend Mommy! Your ministry is just beginning!

Godspeed -
Deborah