Monday, November 24, 2008

Magic Eight Ball

This fall, I became Provincial Coordinator for Campus Ministry in Province VI, and spent last week in NYC meeting at the Episcopal Church Center with other Provincial Coordinators. The energy and passion for work with young adults convinced me that I made a sound decision in accepting this appointment. I have new colleagues who face similar challenges: needing to fight for funding, finding ways to come together within the province despite geographical distance, working to identify student leaders who can commit to national gatherings when they're already too busy.

We worked long days, not even leaving the conference room for the catered lunches. We planned ways to be noticed at the upcoming General Convention, shared experiences and fundraising ideas, and prayed together daily. We grew tired, and needed a good laugh after our discussion of the realities of the country's economic situation and implications for campus ministry.

To the rescue came someone prominent in the current life of the church (whose permission I wish I had to name, but don't) to greet our group. In her hand rested a Magic Eight Ball, nestled into a statue of Jesus. She explained that the statue was a gift she'd received from the Episcopal Church Women of an eastern diocese.

We all decided we needed to try the Magic Eight Ball. I had one (as many did) while growing up, and while I have no idea what became of it, I know that I loved posing questions and anticipating an answer.

Our question was: "Will our campus ministry programs get enough money this year?"

And Jesus' Magic Eight Ball answered, "I'll ask my Dad."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why I keep my office door open

Sometimes I wonder if I should close my door so that I might get at least something done on weekdays. But I like to signal that I'm available, and even though I would've loved to get started on a sermon today, I'm glad I was here for my nine-year-old visitor (I'm guessing her age). She arrives early for children's choir and makes a habit of stopping by.

Today her questions included:
Do you have any chocolate?
Why are these paper cranes messed up? (Um, maybe because *somebody* plays with them every week...)
Is that a Jesus doll? Do his sandals come off? Why isn't he wearing any underwear?
Do you like being a priest?
Can I try your singing bowl?
Who became a priest first, you or your husband? (Me, by about two minutes.)
Do you have any homework?

Monday, November 03, 2008


A few years ago in seminary, I stood next to a priest behind the altar as he was most of the way through the Eucharistic Prayer. He paused, leaned into me, and asked, "Where are we?" I remember being amused that he blanked out.

Payback time came yesterday.

All Saints was a rich and long day, with the third morning service beginning at 11 and ending close to 12:45. We baptized six babies (glorious -- especially holding the 2-week-old), received new members, had guest musicians, lit candles for those who had died, and heard a stewardship "moment." We grabbed some lunch, and there was one hour left to be quiet before a second run-through of the All Souls' Service beginning at 5, for which I served as Celebrant.

That remarkable service deserves an entire post -- let's just say that by the time I distributed hosts to the rest of the altar party, I went blank after returning the paten to the table. Luckily, the subdeacon whispered, "Cup." One simple word helped.

Having lost my concentration on this crammed-full day, I laugh at as I remember my judgmental self. Laughing at one's own silliness, or lack of understanding, can be a fine thing. I wish we all could remember that we're human beings, and as such, prone to make mistakes. We may mess up for a moment, but we still glorify God.