The question we all get asked…
What do you do?
For some of us it’s super easy to answer.
For some of us we pause knowing the reaction to your job can go a few different ways.
Then there’s me, who’s still not sure how to answer. You could also call it disbelief.
I’m a p……
Huh? I’m this thing that I thought I was never going to be. I’m this thing I tried to withdraw from the process of doing. I’m doing this job I’ve not (yet) been ordained to do.
I’m an associate pastor elect (the official term) for Christian Education and Discipleship. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be ordained one week into the new year. I am still in disbelief.
I’m the one who’s tried on many occasions to run from my calling. I’ve believed there are plenty of reasons why God shouldn’t want me as a pastor, yet Gods work in my life doesn’t depend upon just me. There are so many people who have been instrumental in my call to ministry and continue to nurture and guide me. There are also the newer people in my life who sustain me and keep me going in my new role. And each day, I wake up incredibly grateful for where God has called me to serve today.
What we do can feel like such a loaded question.
As a woman in ministry, this feels especially so.
Some do not have positive associations with the church or those in ministry.
Will I be on the receiving end of someone’s animosity against the church?
Will someone have issue with the fact that I am a woman in ministry?
While I could walk around worrying, I’ll hold onto the words of affirmation, gratitude, that affirm I am where I a should be. I will also hold with care the words of the women in my congregation who are grateful for a woman’s voice among the clergy in leadership. I work with two other great pastors, who are gifted in what they do, affirm and encourage me in what I do, and I’m so thankful to call them my colleagues.
Yes, I’m proud to say I’m a pastor, and cannot wait until I’m officially ordained as a minister in Presbyterian Church (USA).
As Presbyterians, we like to do things decently and in order.
To become a pastor there are things you must do. Here are some of those things I’ve had to do:
- Become an inquire with your home church after 6 months of membership
(☑️ November 2007 at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church)
- Be accepted by the CPM as an inquirer
(☑️ November 2007)
- Complete a parish internship
(☑️ August 2008 at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church)
- Complete a non-parish internship
(☑️ May 2009 at Virginia Commonwealth University)
- You must graduate from seminary
(☑️ May 2009 from Union Presbyterian Seminary)
- Be accepted by the CPM as a candidate and the presbytery
(☑️ October 2009)
- Pass 5 ordination exams on Bible Content, Exegesis, Polity, Theology, and Worship & Sacraments
(☑️ completed in 2009)
- Complete a unit of CPE
(☑️ May 2010)
- Be certified ready to receive a call by your presbytery’s CPM
(☑️ October 2020)
- Find a call, aka a job in ministry
(☑️ August 2021)
- Be examined and approved by the presbytery where you will be ordained
In October, I preached before 1/3 of the presbytery, two months after my examination by the COM (committee on ministry) examinations committee. The final step in the ordination process is finally complete.
Could these steps have been completed faster? Absolutely.
Would I be the same person in ministry if I had rushed through them? Absolutely not.
Now I have a service of ordination and installation to finalize and a commission to to have approved by the Presbytery of the James (hopefully today). Theses services are slated for just after Epiphany, as I wanted to ensure that some important people in my journey to ordination could be there. In case you’re not aware, a service in the weeks leading up to or during advent is not an ideal time for those in ministry for an ordination service.
I am beyond excited and grateful for all that has happened and all that comes next.
P.S. If you are someone who has journeyed alongside me in this process… thank you! I seriously, could not do this without you.