10.30.2006

Leading the Contemporary Service Meditation (or, Mrs. M Lands Hard on her Metaphorical Heiney)

Hack, sputter, cough, and then spiritually and mentally keels right over.

I've been at Intern Church for about 3 weeks. Was asked to lead the meditation
(which takes the place of a sermon in our contemporary service) on Saturday night. Had a week's notice. Did a lot of thinking, found how the passage spoke to me.

And then was too scared on Saturday to effectively evoke the same wonderings. Panicked. Cut myself off. Felt cut off before I started.

I have three months to work with a group of people radically different from me
(young vs old, urban vs rural background, Anglo-Catholic vs more evangelical)-- which in itself is a miraculous statement. Also terrifying.

I think I'm called to be (in the most loving way possible) a questioner. Called to explore with people. I'm interning with a patient, probably introverted soul who doesn't seem to think that's something I should bring to her parish-- which is fair. 3 months isn't enough time to cultivate trust, and I feel caught between "why aren't you doing anything?" and "we don't do that here."

I meet with Rev. Supervisor tomorrow, and I hope this is something that we can talk about. I'm not sure we're effectively communicating with one another right now, and I hope we can understand each other better.

QUESTION FOR THE REV GALS: Have you worked under clergypersons with whom you had difficulty communicating effectively? How did you improve the situation?

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:43 PM

    It's tough, tough, tough! You're insticts that an intern cannot change the cultutre of a church are right on. I learned, the hard way, that neither can an Associate pastor.

    Unfortunately in my first call, the situation never improved. I was frustrated by a Head of Staff that seldom wanted to meet with me, which meant that I was usually out of the loop. I learned from that experience just how important a regular staff meeting is.

    In an intern situation, you have the opportunity to use the "I'm just trying to understand and learn" angle when approaching the pastor. Hopefully, someone who has offered to help in the formation of a pastor will be open to your questions and your need to talk things out as you process your experience.

    Sorry for the long comment! My prayers are with you.

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  2. I'm at a lutheran seminary, interning at a church for a year. It is a very artificial environment in some ways, because we're just kinda placed here to lead, and they don't really know us or where we are coming from. That's the way it is in the ELCA at least. As a 24 year old woman who is deeply liturgical, I sometimes have difficulty communicating with my supervisor (60 yr. old man who thinks communion liturgy, nay communion itself is optional) Keep working at it, and just be honest, and be open to the Spirit. I'll let you know if I learn any trade secrets...

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  3. Thanks, ladies! I'm very grateful for the support.

    The dialogue has started, and I think it'll get better. (Erin, you deeply liturgial woman! I'm hoping to be in NOVA for seminary next fall! And I'm not that far away now...)

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  4. Are you going to VTS? We're in Fairfax now, but my husband and I will be moving back to Gettysburg so I can finish up seminary next fall. Keep us posted...

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  5. Erin,

    Yep, VTS is what I'm hoping for. We're in Central PA now.

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  6. In short, yes I have worked in situations where communication was difficult, and there is no easy solution, other than owning up to it and working at it.

    Is your supervisor aware of communication difficulties? If not you may need to broach the subject, this will not be easy and it might help you to have someone else along.

    Pryaers and blessings

    Sally

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"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins