Monday, April 30, 2012

Gammu globulin

Saw my doctor today, a pulmonologist.  He tells me that the blood test revealed that I have IgG deficiency, so he's referring me to an immunologist who will probably have me do gammu globulin infusions.  He says, "Katherine, you're going to feel a lot better."

Then he tells me that the two sleep studies I've done reveal that I have a mild case of sleep apnea.  I stop breathing about 10 times each hour.  I'll get one of those machines with a mask that pushes oxygen into me.  "Katherine, you're going to feel a lot better."

That would be nice.  We'll see.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Leaving one church, Serving another

Tomorrow, Apr 29, is my last Sunday at First Congregational.  I've been packing my office this week--still not quite finished.  Feeling quite OK about it all.   I guess that whether I continue to feel OK about it depends on how I like serving Cathedral of Hope--all indications so far are that I'll love it.  I'm one of 4 straight people on the staff of 37, and the church is 90% LBGT although the number of straight families who want their children raised with progressive theology is one of the church's fastest growing demographics.  Pretty exciting!

One of my biggest learning curves is going to be learning how to minister in a church where I won't know all of the members.  I'll know the lay leaders, those who are really involved, of course.  And I guess that will be enough!  I don't know...that's going to be really strange.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to two weeks of vacation, one of which will be on Beaver Lake near Eureka Springs. We've rented a cottage -- the same one we've had twice before.  It's so beautiful there; I can't wait!

Here is the "Leaving" article I published in our church newsletter yesterday.

Contemplating with Katherine
This is my last newsletter article for First Congregational, and that fills me with sadness.  As I take my leave, I thought I'd share with you my sense of what it means to be a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how that shapes our relationships.  
The position of clergy is a bit of strange--in one sense we work for the Church as an institution and are employees like any other.  I can be hired and fired, and the relationship is hierarchical.  When viewed strictly from a business model, you might say I'm the hired help.  When viewed from another, much more important way, however, I am not the hired help at all.  As an employee of an institution, I work for the church.  But for the church as The Body of Christ, I serve the church, and I do so without reserve, with zero diminishment of who I am because I am in a covenantal relationship with the Body of Christ.  
The relationship as covenantal means a number of things.  First, our tradition holds that as clergy I'm "set apart" from laity in the sense of a recognition of a particular inward calling from the Holy Spirit to serve the Body of Christ and a recognition of certain gifts and graces for ministry.  It doesn't mean "set above" or "set below."  Set apart, yes, but we are all ministers to each other.  We are equally the servants of God in and for the world.  
Second, my covenantal relationship with the Body of Christ means that we are called to love each other.  That has many layers of meaning, of course, but let me focus on the most personal aspects of my side of the relationship and what this means to me.
For many years now I've known that the real purpose of my life is to become more and more like Christ.  To become more Christ-like includes becoming more loving.  The first step is always to love myself, for until I love myself, all the love I direct toward others is mostly inauthentic.  Amazingly, as I've struggled to learn to love myself more authentically over the years, I've fallen more and more in love with God.  And as I love God increasingly with my whole heart, just as amazingly, I have learned to authentically love others.  
Having said that, the truth is also that much of the time I fail to love.  For various reasons, I hold back.  I fail because I start to think that I can love strictly under my own power, forgetting that love is always a gift from God.  To the extent that I have failed to love here in the last 4 and 1/2 years, I ask your understanding.  
I haven't always failed, however.  When I think back over these years, I'm overjoyed at the many ways I see how love has guided and filled me.  My purpose in life has moved forward here at First Congregational, for I believe that I've increased in my capacity to love, to allow God to love through me.  
And now I reap the consequences of that love.  
As I leave this place, leave this particular manifestation of my covenantal relationship with the Body of Christ, I must allow myself to feel the pain of sadness that is always interwoven with love--the cost of love in a world bounded by temporality and the changes that temporality always brings.   You have been a HUGE blessing to me.  I'll carry with me to my new position at Cathedral of Hope many memories of the Spirit moving powerfully among us, memories of loss and grief, as well as fun and laughter.  Thank you for allowing me the privilege of walking with you through life for these years.  
Glad to have been  your pastor,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Metroplex living

Metroplex living is kind of interesting.  I drove to Dallas yesterday for a late afternoon meeting with my colleagues at my future church.  Of course I left home way before I needed to, so I had time to really look at all the places close to this church.  Did some window shopping at the Crate & Barrel outlet store, noticed all the hotels in the area, TWU has a giant building there -- its Dallas campus.  The church is in the Oak Lawn section of Dallas, close to Love Field.  A mile south and you're in an ugly, rundown part of town.  But the giant hospitals are a stone's throw--Parkland, UTSouthwestern, Southwestern Medical, Zale-Lipshy.  And just north of the church is the beginning of some ritzy expensive neighborhoods.  Park Cities Motors is literally next door and some guy in a Mercedez nearly ran into me as I made [what might have been an illegal] u-turn. ha!

Anyway, after this meeting (which was FABULOUS and made me very eager to begin contributing to this lively place!), I went to the mid-cities to meet a friend for dinner.  I haven't lived in Dallas since 1998 and there are part of the city that I've had no reason to go to in all those years.  But as I was driving yesterday the feeling of Big D came back to me.  It's hugely different from Fort Worth -- faster paced, less forgiving, more expected of you--that kind of feeling.

Wasn't that I disliked being in Dallas. I didn't.  I rather enjoyed the feeling of getting familiar with it all again.  It's just so noticeable how much difference a place can make.  Strangely intimate.  Memories kept coming back to me...the time I went with my father to Dallas when I was in junior high to buy some Dallas Cowboys tickets.  All those years I was buying office equipment at that spectacular building on Stemmons Frwy, the name of which escapes me at the moment but it's modeled after some building in London.

My commute is going to double; it'll take me 40 minutes minimum to drive to work every morning, but I've already bought some books on tape, and am looking forward to it.  I don't anticipate the driving to be a huge problem for me, and I'm SO looking forward to reconnecting with some of my Dallas friends who I've only seen sporadically during these years.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Life as Swirl

Had a good time this Sunday morning with Holy Hilarity Sunday.  I didn't even know there was such a thing until I came upon it in TextWeek.  Jokes and funnies.  Our music director added some great little musical "doo-dads" on the piano at the end of some of the cornball jokes.

I ended by talking about the difference it can make in our world when we understand that God delights in us.  Really, truly delights in us, and has given us the gift of laughter.

I'm unbelievably tired this afternoon, though.  Last night the power went out so I got two hotel rooms for me and K.  [David was out of town.]  Worked on the service until 1 a.m. and was up at 5:00 to finish it.  Feel like I've been run over.

I don't know.  Life just feels strange right now.  We were ground zero for one of the tornadoes that came through a couple of weeks ago.  The tops of the trees in the neighborhood were sheered;  even this morning I looked at the houses surrounding ours and thought, "Wait a minute. That's not right."

Fortunately, our home was untouched except for part of the fence and a tree in the front yard.
So grateful that no one was killed here in our area, but am praying for the families who lost loved ones just this morning from more tornadoes in the Okla and other states...

I have a new job which I'll begin May 14th.   Leaving my current job will be hard.

Life just keeps getting more and more mysterious.  Right now it feels like it's all swirling around me, like my thinking is sideways somehow.  (Really sounds like I'm losing it, doesn't it?  Pfffft!  :-)   Oh well.  Maybe I should stop writing for now!! ha!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Minister of Spiritual Life -- new job!

Things happen FAST around here in terms of jobs, I must say.

Last Thursday morning, before going in to work, I noticed that I had a message on my phone.  It had come in the night before but I hadn't realized it.  It was from a huge church in Dallas asking me if, by chance, I had time to come in for an interview that day (Thursday).  I called back and said yes and met with the Executive Director and Executive Minister for an interview.  Interview went well and I drove back to FW to my church to work.  Got a call that afternoon offering me the job!  Wow! They work fast!  I talked to David about it and then called them back and accepted.

Really exciting opportunity; I'm thrilled about it!

So I told my church about it yesterday, giving them the 30 days notice.  My last Sunday there will be April 29th.  Definitely bittersweet -- I'll hate leaving this congregation, but . . . it is what it is.  They're hoping to be in negotiations with a candidate and have someone on board by June, so I'm not leaving them in a huge lurch.

It's going to be so different serving a huge church like this.  Staff of 37!  They have an orchestra accompanying the choir every Sunday!  They've built a lovely new InterFaith Prayer Chapel on the grounds.  Feed about 200 people who are homeless every Saturday.  So many ministries at this place that it's going to take me a while just to learn about them all.

Thanks be to God....I'm grateful.