Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday at Local Pastors School

While most of our class seized the opportunity to take the required sexual ethics course during the week at Annual Conference, Brother Al Ammon and I had to take it last Saturday at Lon Morris due our work schedules. While I’ve never had the joy of being at Annual Conference I don’t think that I would have traded even that for my experience taking the class at Local Pastors School last weekend.

Much of the school environment was familiar to me, like the schools coordinator, Rev. Dale Chance, who is also senior pastor of Brenham 1st UMC, the “hub church” for Chappell Hill. Likewise, the intensity of commitment exhibited by the 25 or so appointees in the class was reminiscent of the atmosphere in our CLM classes. These folks all demonstrated the identical passion for service that we have. The only difference between their service as clergy and ours as laity, that I could see, was what they were willing to give up to be in service. And, from what I’ve learned recently, it’s considerable.

Because of this, I detected slightly different perspectives shared by members of the class than our own and I couldn’t help but feel that I had been immersed into a unique culture. Part of this was due to the intensity of what they had committed to. Unlike our one-day classes, they had committed to a 12-day intensive study and only allowed one free evening. I was just there for one day and then I got to go home - small wonder that I felt like an outsider.

But during our breaks I made some friends and we were able to converse and share our views of ministry during lunch. I received number of surprises when I learned that many of these new pastors and I share counter cultural perspectives for mission focus and building community beyond the local church. I came away from the experience with a renewed sense of hope that, given the caliber and commitment of these new pastors, maybe there is brighter future ahead for the church. We need to be supportive of not just these but all of our pastors and remain in prayer that the Lord will guide them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Amy's friend Marc is ordained, and he's tired.

United Methodist Reporter On the blog:
June 11, 2010

Ordination Can Make You Tired

Monday night I had the privilege of attending the Service of Ordination and Commissioning of the North Texas Conference of the UMC. (I say "privilege" not only because of the enormity of the event, but also because even the overflow room became so packed that they had to turn people away. Thank heaven for live web streaming and archived video!)

During the Annual Conference business sessions on Monday and Tuesday, we viewed pre-recorded speeches by each of the ordinands. I know many of the people who were ordained this year, but among all of their speeches, which were limited to two minutes, the one given by the Rev. Marc Corazao stood out:

Bishop Bledsoe and members of the North Texas Conference,

My name is Marc Corazao, and I currently serve as Associate Pastor over Outreach Ministries at Floral Heights United Methodist Church and as Pastor with the Breakfast at the Heights Community in Wichita Falls.

So, I’ve finally gotten to this point of being voted on at clergy session and ordained as an elder, and you know what? I’m pretty tired…

I’m tired of watching pastors and churches cater to the comfort of an affluent constituency.

I’m tired of mission efforts that actually keep those in poverty at arm's length by drawing lines of givers and receivers, privileged and lowly, blessed and cursed, community and other.

I’m tired of coming to Annual Conference and repeatedly witnessing us being more concerned with the outcome of a vote than our sisters and brothers we run over, shut out, dismiss, and demonize to get what we want.

I’m tired of hearing us fearfully talk about our sinking ship that we supposedly need to figure out how to float again.

I’m tired of the part I have played in fostering all of this in the church today.

I’m pretty tired.

So, if I’m tired, and I go to sleep, maybe I’ll dream of something else...

Maybe I’ll dream of a people with the mind of Christ, who encounter the world with basin and towel in hand.

Maybe I’ll dream of a community that lives and works and laughs and serves together with sisters and brothers who live in poverty.

Maybe I’ll dream of holy conversation at Annual Conference that is characterized by outdoing one another in showing honor to each other.

Maybe I’ll dream of the lost, the marginalized, the outcast, the lonely, finding maybe the one place of welcome, acceptance, and counter-cultural love in their lives with us.

Maybe I’ll dream of a church not driven by the fear of self-preservation but by the calling of God to transform the world in love no matter what the cost.

Maybe I’ll dream of my own need to repent and God’s voice calling me and my family in Christ to live and love so dramatically, so humbly, so boldly, so differently, that people everywhere will ask, “What is with those United Methodists?”

And when I wake, you better believe that something’s going to change, and I’m not sitting this one out.

You know what Marc? I'm getting tired, too. Thanks for this prophetic word.