the next chapter

Today marks the first anniversary of Mason’s installation at First Presbyterian Church, and what a year it’s been for us. The things we’ve learned, professionally and personally, have been too many to number for us. There have been days of trial and days of joy. I’ve watched my husband grow from just a youth pastor into a pastor to all generations. A friend who visited us recently pointed out that he’s developed his preaching voice now that he preaches weekly rather than just once a quarter. He’s grown as a leader and he’s even making strides in the area of communication, which has always been his weakness. It’s been a joy to watch him develop in this call, and it’s been an honor to be by his side, even on the days of trial when we have felt like we’ve been in a valley. I’m proud of him and I’m excited to see what the next year has in store for him as a pastor and us as a family.

I’m also excited to see what the next year has in store for me, too, as we enter the next chapter…

Today it became official. Starting on July 1, 2013, I will be serving as the Presbyterian Campus Minister at Murray State University. I’ve been negotiating the call for a few months now, which was temporarily put on hold for me to have time after Lilly’s birth, and today we put the final touches on the contract and plans for Ordination.

I was approached in December about the position by the outgoing campus minister & his wife, who in the small Presbyterian world are actually the in-laws of a seminary friend who lives & works at a church in Charlotte. At the time I had already been approached about being a Stated Supply Pastor/Interim at another local congregation who was about to lose their current Interim due to health reasons, and I was also finishing my writing for Chalice Press, so I was not really keen on the idea of entertaining another possible call…especially knowing how collegiate ministry works, my lack of childcare options and the pending arrival of Baby Girl. That all being said, I took the month of January to ponder the opportunity, which worked nicely with my time at the Montreat College Conference & The Blaze conference as well. (There’s something about Montreat that helps bring clarity to discernment. I’m thankful that my time there overlapped my time of discernment.)

After conversations with several people, lots of prayer, and an initial discussion with a few people on the campus ministry board after submitting a proposal, I met with the entire board and laid out the reality of my situation – being the wife of a pastor at another local congregation which would be my “home base,” my availability due to child care, and a few other thoughts and concerns that I carried about moving forward. God works it all out for you when it’s a call, however. The board seemed overly delighted with my proposal, the idea of having me in the position and completely okay with my need for part-time ministry. They were also pleased with my willingness to work on a one year contract for the time being as the host church begins to look for their new Head of Staff and potentially an associate specifically for campus ministry after the departure of their clergy couple who served as the campus ministry staff also.

In short, I laid it all out there…they laid it all out there…we all prayed & God is making it happen.

The position is based at First Presbyterian Church in Murray, but Mason and the family are at First Presbyterian Church in Mayfield. With accepting the call I will be participating in the life of the congregation in Murray as my schedule with Mayfield allows, and I’ll be splitting my worship services between the two churches. I’ve already been meeting with the Interim at Murray, who has led joint worship with Mason in Mayfield over the Easter season, and I’m very excited about working with her and learning from a strong female ministry professional. More than that, I’m excited about being involved in the congregation at Murray also, and I’m beyond excited to begin working with the students at Murray State.

The plan is for me to be ordained, but we’ve still got some steps to take with Presbytery to make that happen. So, for the time being I’ll start working in the ministry un-ordained with the goal of Presbytery approval in August and ordination following that soon after. Being Presbyterian there are several steps involved in the process since we like to be decent & orderly about ordination and accepting calls. Today was the first hurdle and I’ll be tackling preparing for the fall semester in the ministry and preparing for examination by the Commission on Ministry & Presbytery examination, then planning my ordination and installation.

Here’s to the next chapter.
Here’s to learning, growth and transformation.
And here’s to seeing what God’s got planned for all of us in this next chapter.

To God be the Glory!

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