Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our education

From my recent post to the House of Bishops and Deputies list:

In our congregation, we value education as much as anyone.  We particularly value education that we share.  We just don't pour all of our education into one person.  Each of us comes with gifts, talents, and experience that help us prepare to share our ministry, and we work together to develop those gifts. 

 As an example, the woman who coordinates our pastoral care does not have a degree at all.  She has 20 years of experience taking care of the elderly.  When we as a group discerned her gift for pastoral care, we arranged for her to take a class sponsored by the Diocese of Wyoming and EDS.  She didn't take the course alone.  Others in the diocese studied with her, and a group of us, including our seminary trained Ministry Developer, read all the course materials and participated in small group exercises and discussions.

 This sort of things plays out in our congregation on a regular basis.  We are a small congregation and struggled for years to pay a rector.  We could have closed the doors, but we believe we have strengths as a worshiping community that reaches out to the world in many ways, and we chose to keep the doors open. 

We now have groups organized as ministries of Pastoral Care, Liturgy, Administration, Evangelism/Outreach, and Vision/Education.  Groups are meeting regularly to develop the ministries, and to be educated together.   We have a Ministry Developer who works with us and other congregations in this process, and a diocesan structure that works to put this all together. 

We also have two transitional deacons, ordained by Bishop Bruce Caldwell a month ago yesterday.  Tristan English and I will continue to work our "day jobs" while participating in the ministry and work of the church.  It's true that neither of us has been to seminary and at this point neither of us knows Greek.  It is also true that we are both educated in our professions and in the work of church, and we remain committed to ongoing education.  The congregation is not going to allow us to hoard the knowledge that they value.  They will insist that we continue educating ourselves as a team as we continue doing God's work in the world.
Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

1 comment:

  1. What a great congregation -- and a great way of doing ministry. who cares if you don't know Greek? I know priests who studied Greek and were philosophy majors but who can't identify with people and have few people skills. Thanks, I'll take someone who can listen and who care about more than doing a beautiful liturgy and giving a dynamite sermon. I'll take your church's way of "doing" church any day.