Saturday, May 31, 2008

30 Years Ago

This past week Jan and passed a mile stone, our 30th anniversary. Please excuse me if I indulge in a little history. Jan and I met in 1976, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, in the cafeteria of Conneaut Lake Amusement Park. Over a summer of working together we fell in love. A few months later we were engaged, and two years later, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend we were joined in marriage. Little did we know what our married life would bring. Our plans were for me to finish my undergraduate degree and then attend seminary (Jan had graduated before we were married).

We’ve learned since those early days that plans change, particularly if you wish to follow God. During my final year of undergraduate school, Jan responded to a call to ordained ministry. So in 1979 we both started our studies at Drew Theological School and began the experiment of job sharing. This new plan grew from our desire to respond to our call to be parents and to be pastors.

Well the experiment has lasted 29 years and continues. Our calling brought us to Maine (a state I had never even visited) to serve churches in Newport and Detroit. We were the first United Methodist clergy couple in the Northeast to job share. We were warned that it would not work (“someone had to be in charge”) and our children would be seriously warped (“they needed to bond with their mother”). Still we chose to followed our calling to co-parenting and co-pastoring.

Again, after 23 years in the parish, following God took us places we never expected to go, to become co-district superintendents. This is the most challenging position I have ever held.

Looking back over these thirty years, I do not regret any of it. We’ve weathered challenges from within and without. Our children have grown up to be well adjusted, creative, caring, incredible adults (okay, so I am a little biased).

So is there some point to my nostalgic ramblings? Probably not. Maybe there is an invitation and a warning. Following God is an incredible way to live! God leads us to places we never imagined and to do things we did not know were possible. If you are a person who wants life all carefully laid out with an iron clad plan for the future, be forewarned, following God will make a mess of your plans. It has of mine and for that I am forever grateful.

Thirty years ago. Who would have thought it possible? I wonder what the next thirty will bring, probably something amazing, challenging and wonderful.



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teaching About Change

I have a question for the five of you who read my blog. How would you teach a group of people about change? I mean the reality of change, the need for change and the way to change? Have you seen a video or watched a movie that invites people to recognize our changing reality or offers new ways to think about the world in which we live?

I am part of a team of people designing a presentation to share with over 700 people who are a part of United Methodist churches in the Tri-State District, where Jan and I serve. The presentation will be shared with groups as small as a dozen and as large as five dozen. Most will be over 45, many over 60 with a few under 30. The presentation will be 15 to 20 minutes long with additional time for discussion. It is intended to stimulate thought about the changing reality in which the church exists today.

So I’m looking for your thoughts, ideas, suggestions for video clips or entire videos and whatever resources you think might be helpful. Please post them here to stimulate our conversation.