Friday, October 22, 2010

A Special Baptism

During ones journey as either a parent or as a pastor, there are a few special moments that make it all worthwhile. As a pastor, baptisms are always special moments - whether it is an infant, or a young child, or an adult. In Baptism, we join the fellowship of believers in a particular community, but more importantly, we become part of the family of God -brothers and sisters in Christ.

Since I was baptised as an infant, I surely don't remember anything about my own baptism. As a parent, I remember the baptisms of my two children, though the only part I had in their baptism was to present them, and then raise them in the faith.

When our son's twins were baptized, we were fairly new pastors and our participation in their baptism was purely as grandparents. We were there and participated with the rest of the family. We were very glad to be there and to be included, and we take seriously our duty as grandparents to help raise Kasey and Daiton (and their sister Tristan) in the faith, as best we can from 4 hours away.

This past Sunday, though, was a little different. Ruth Ann and I together baptized the triplets - our daughter's babies. These were not our first baptisms as pastors, nor the first that we had done together, but it was a joy to baptize our grandchildren!

As you can see, we all had our hands full! It was a very joyous occasion, and one that will remain a special memory. One of the things that makes it special is that since Ruth Ann and I no longer serve together at the same church, moments like these are rare and will become even more so. We certainly cannot arrange to be together for something like this very often, but I am very glad we were able to do it for this occasion.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Return to the Gulf Coast

This week has been a time of vacation, rest and relaxation, and a return to the Gulf Coast. This has been our first trip down here in three years. In August of 2007, we packed up from internship and returned to Columbia for our last year of seminary. We have not had the opportunity to return since.

Today, a friend at St. Paul's (our internship congregation) was ordained and we were invited. It was a good opportunity for us to come back, visit with old friends, and join with the members of St. Paul's in celebrating the ordination of Joy Blaylock. It was a wonderful time and we really enjoyed the opportunity to visit.

On another note, we did something that we were not able to do the entire year that we were here for internship, nor while we were here the year before that as volunteers - we drove across the Hwy 90 bridge between Biloxi and Ocean Springs! If you were to look back at our internship blog and some of the first pictures we posted, you would see that the Hwy 90 bridge looked like a game of dominoes gone wrong. When we left here three years ago, they were still arguing over what kind of bridge to build as a replacement (4 lanes, 6 lanes, with pedestrian traffic, without, etc). Today we drove over a brand new 6 lane bridge, with pedestrain and bike lane. It was a wonderful experience! Much has happened on the Gulf Coast in the area of Katrina recovery, especially noticable to people like us who spent a lot of time being involved in the recover efforts.

Tomorrow we head home. It has been a wonderful trip down memory lane, a new chapter in our lives and our relationship with those that we knew when we were interns, and a reuniting with friends - some old and some new. It has been good to see so much recovery, and sad to hear of situations that did not turn out so well. It was especailly sad to hear of the death of members of St. Paul's who were a part of our intership, but this is life. We will miss those people, but we remember their part in our intership. Special thanks to Garry and Brenda for hosting us, and to Joy for inviting us to be a part of her special day. Praise to God for all good things!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New beginnings

From a new clergy couple, serving as co-pastors, we now begin life as a clergy couple serving different congregations. As of May 24, Ruth Ann is serving a new call at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Richfield, NC. Life for us is changing once again.

While many things remain the same - both work on Sunday, both on call 24/7, both have sermon and worship preparations to make during the week, many things are different. For one, we cannot operate on quite the same schedule. For example, as Ruth Ann buries a member of her new parish today, I am home housecleaning and working on tomorrow's sermon (and spending some time on the computer). Where for almost 6 years we have done almost everything together, now we have to learn to do some of things apart and on different schedules.

In one way, this is a return to how things were before seminary, when I was traveling over 50% of the year. Our schedules only rarely coincided, and then only with great planning. We will have to recover that intentionality in planning our personal lives that has somewhat gone by the wayside. Instead of planning everything for the church and using what is left over for ourselves, we will now have to carve out space for ourselves in the midst of planning for church. It also means that our opportunities to worship together - even as worship leaders - will be few and far between.

Being in separate places also creates issues with meals - how, when, and where do we eat? So far, we are managing to eat more meals together than apart, but we will have to go back to planning meals as to who is going to be available to cook. We are operating on different office hours, including some time at home for sermon prep so we can share our library (don't have duplicate commentaries), so scheduling study time and menus will have to happen soon.

Life as a clergy couple has its ups and downs, and certainly adds some complications, but then it also has the plus side of truly understanding what it is like to be a pastor - the long, inconsistent hours, late night phone calls, early mornings at the hospital for surgery visits, and the deep frustrations when God's people don't act like God's people.

For now, we will struggle along as we work out the new schedules and get used to having to prepare a sermon every week instead of every other week. We have to get used to saying "I" instead of "we" when talking about "the pastor(s)", and we have to go from sharing almost everything told to us so we can each be aware of situations in the congregation to sharing only public knowledge - even about members that we both know.

Many changes in the works, but most certainly God is active and working in our lives. Some things change, others stay the same, but God remains constant. For this we give thanks, especially when so much else is up in the air. So begins the next chapter in our lives.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Where does time go?

It is discouraging to see that there has not been a post to the blog since Christmas! It has been a very busy time with many things going on. It was my intent to post more often during Lent, but that has not happened.

One of the many things that has happened in recent weeks is the birth of three grandchildren. That's right, three! Our daughter had triplets on March 3. We were fortunate to be able to be present for their birth. After several days in the hospital, they are now home. Mother and babies are doing well.

Along with all of the other changes in our lives -seminary, internship, graduation, ordination, and so on - we have also had an explosion of grandchildren. In three years, both of our children have gotten married and had children. We have gone from non to six grandchildren in just three short years! Like our fast-paced journey to and through seminary, I don't necessarily recommend this method of gaining lots of grandchildren, but then, these sorts of things seem to happen to us. With twins in one family and triplets in the other, plus one - we have six wonderful grandchildren now.

Now that we are in Holy Week and my hope to blog during Lent is pretty well a lost cause, I hope to find more time to blog about grandchildren (after Easter).