The Postulant's Path

In 2014, Grace Church nominated Bobbi Kraft to be a Postulant in the ordination process leading to ordination as a priest. Each month, Bobbi shares a glimpse of what she encounters along the way on this 3-4 year journey.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 07:01

Food for the Soul

Lent. Growing up, I never paid it much attention. (Though I DO remember one of my eighth-grade classmates gave up haircuts for Lent. We laughed. But, by the end of Lent his hair was SO long, most girls would’ve been envious!) Over the last few year, Lent has been difficult while at the same time beautiful. It makes me think of all the daffodils and tulips attempting to burst forth from the dark soil, sometimes covered in dank leaves, in order to show forth their beautiful blooms. What a great metaphor for what can happen in our lives if we invite God in to help with the “mud” in order to bring forth something beautiful.

Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:50

Puzzled Halfway Through

Halfway. As you read this, I’ll have started the second half of seminary. I still am in a bit of shock that I’m already at this point. Where has the time gone? How can this portion of the journey already be half completed? It baffles my mind!
Suddenly, I’m reminded of the lessons from cathechumenate taught by (now) Mother Michele Whitford. She instructed us to read the Book of Mark for one of our sessions. I still remember her talking about the change in the narrative once Jesus makes his “turn” towards Jerusalem. The tone of scripture and its focus dramatically changes once Jesus turns and begins that journey to Jerusalem…much to his disciples dismay. I have new appreciation for this insight because, as I reflect on being halfway, I realize that my own heart is making a turn towards a destination partially unknown but clearly fixed to the early parts of the summer of 2018.
Tuesday, 01 November 2016 13:48

Make His Deeds Known

In the blink of an eye, the first half of the semester is finished! As I write this, I am seated at a desk in Berkeley, CA on the campus of CDSP where I will spend the week enjoying some much-needed rest! “O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.” (1 Chronicles 16:8). November, a time for giving thanks in the US; a time to make known God’s deeds among the peoples.
Yet, I’m not quite sure what to write. So much has happened this past month and I have been with you three times over the course of it! Still, I am in awe of God’s deeds. They’ve allowed me to be in Sheboygan to grieve with you after Terry Kohler’s passing into eternal life. They’ve allowed me to share the joy of Walsingham pilgrimage, Grace Church, and Sheboygan itself with my classmate, Nick Evancho. They’ve allowed me to take part in our Diocesan Convention with our wider church family. All the while, somehow, they’ve allowed me to keep up with my studies, serve faithfully at my field education site, and even move into on-campus housing. How? How has this been possible? How has this ALL occurred in four weeks’ time!?! Make known his deeds among the peoples. God’s hand is truly at the heart of all that has been accomplished!
Thursday, 01 September 2016 13:41

Time to Hit the Books

It’s time to hit the books once again! It’s hard to believe that a year has already passed since my first day at seminary. It required a lot of adjustment for me and those I love. This year may, at least, be a tiny measure “easier” thanks to being able to build from what was learned last year.
For those I missed seeing during my two weeks in WI, I’m sorry our paths did not cross. For those I saw during that time, I give thanks! It was “spirit lifting”. It was a blessing to share “My First Year at Seminary” presentation at both St. Paul’s Marinette and Grace Sheboygan. For me, it was great to have the opportunity to share a little bit of what the year held for me and to be able to say “thank you” once again for all of you who love, support, and pray for me and my family while on this journey.
Monday, 01 August 2016 13:32

CPE Discoveries

Shortly, my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) experience will be over and I’ll be headed back to WI for a bit of a break. This summer program has been exhausting but I’ve learned a lot; both expected and unexpected. All of which, though, I couldn’t have done without your love, support, and prayers.
As I entered the CPE program, I knew my biggest challenge would be to change “how” I listen. For over thirty years, my profession required that I use a form of listening for “fixing.” With this style, the listener asks lots of questions to obtain answers in order to find something, fix something, or solve some problem. Like James Garner’s character, “The Scrounger”, in the movie The Great Escape, I was skilled at listening, analyzing, and filling a need. Thanks to my CPE experience, I’ve learned new skills for listening. These new skills enable me to “be present” to those in need of God’s presence with them; to listen with my heart. It does not involve sharing of my own personal stories and this type of listening involves practically zero questions! It takes a lot of practice.
Friday, 01 July 2016 08:27

Exhaustion

My apologies for not writing for you last month. The whirlwind that was finals and graduations (complete with an honorary doctorate for our own Bishop Matt) left me at a loss for words; especially with the great unknown of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) ahead of me. I was thankful to come home to Grace (ever so briefly) and preach on Trinity Sunday. It was SO good to be with all of you for that very short time before starting my summer education. Now, a month later, the one thing I can say for sure is that CPE is exhausting! And, I need your prayers, now more than ever.
 
First, some of you may still be wondering what CPE is. It “is interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths into supervised encounter with persons in crisis.” In addition to being joined by two of my classmates from VTS, there is a woman studying to be a Jewish spiritual director, and a Roman Catholic priest who is considering full-time chaplaincy at The Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville, MD. Our supervisor, Rabbi Jim Michaels, has been supervising CPE candidates for twenty years and working with VTS for the past ten years. I’d heard high praise for the program here from other classmates who’ve served here. They were correct.
 
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 08:07

Formation, Formation, Formation

It’s hard to believe that, as I write this, my first year at seminary is coming to a close. It seems like only yesterday the U-Haul was parked outside of church while we went to one last morning prayer in the Christ the King Chapel before hitting the road. However, it also seems like I’ve been here for a long time and am saddened to realize that some of my classmates will soon be leaving this place thanks to graduation. It seems that “change” is constant, but it’s just one of the forms “formation” takes.

Happy Easter!!! The dictionary recognizes Resurrection (with an initial capital letter) as Jesus Christ’s return to life after death and burial. In some cases, though, the first definition listed is of resurrection = the act of rising from the dead. Not like I was truly dead but, when I arrived home, I was truly drained. Spring Break coinciding with Holy Week brought death and new life.

Friday, 29 January 2016 10:09

Time: Surviving versus Thriving

Wow, seems like just yesterday I was in Sheboygan worshipping with you all! It was such a blessing to be at Grace and to be able to visit with so many of you! I wish I could’ve visited with more of you, but the time home and the holidays made that difficult. Time keeps marching forward and, as I write this, second semester and Lent are right around the corner!

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about time. I’ve thought about how I fill it, how I use it, how I waste it, how I wish I had more of it, and how quickly it passes or drags on. Time is an amazing thing! “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.” (2 Peter 3:8) This verse always comes to mind when I consider time. Lately, because of this verse, I’ve come to a different understanding about time: ALL of time belongs to God. Taking that approach has made me look at my own time in a new way. Every moment of my day belongs to God.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015 09:47

Done is Good

Ok, so maybe it’s not the best use of English grammar, but a very common saying heard around campus is, “Done is good.” I’ve just completed my first semester at seminary. It hardly seems possible. Yet, despite feeling like I just got to school, it has been an intense semester and I am so glad it’s completed. For each class, there is always more reading that could be done. For each paper, there is always more research that could be done. For each exam, there is always more preparation that could be done. At times, it is best to recognize that “Done is good” and move on to the next assignment. Yet, what about what happens in between?

Monday, 30 November 2015 00:00

It's About More than Just Books

It’s beginning to look a lot like…Advent! Ok, I know, that’s not how the song goes. Then again, I’m here in Alexandria and our temps will be in the 50’s for the next couple of weeks. Some of the atmospheric clues of the season are absent for me. Plus, finals are right around the corner. Between the weather and the school work, Advent’s season of preparation will take on a very different feel this year! Like the Magi, this Advent, I find myself looking for “signs”.

Monday, 02 November 2015 00:00

With Thanksgiving

November is a month many of us begin to look back over the course of the year and think to the year ahead. It is at this time that I am most aware of what has happened and is happening while what will happen remains a mystery. As I sit down to write this, I have just finished my first major exam (New Testament) of my time at seminary…with many more exams in my future! In this moment, I give thanks.

Monday, 28 September 2015 00:00

A Day in the Life

Greetings! It is hard to believe how quickly another month has flown by!! Thankfully, this past week was the first that it felt as a rhythm had started. I thought I’d share with you a bit of what daily life is like here at VTS. I won’t bore you with all of the details of my day, but share a bit about the framework of our day.

8:15 AM Morning Prayer. This is a slice of home for me. We gather together in the same way that we do at Grace. The chapel is larger and there are more people present, but the flow of the service is like a warm blanket by its familiarity to prayers in Christ the King Chapel. Beforehand, on Tuesday mornings, I text Paul Aparicio and on Fridays, Deacon Michele just to let them know that while I’m not there to pray with them, I am here praying with them. (I can’t say enough about Morning Prayer service at Grace! It provides nourishment in so many ways. Check it out. Tell ‘em “Bobbi sent you.”)

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 00:00

"I Believe, Help My Unbelief"

This past month has been a blur of activity! Kaleigh and I returned from General Convention, I said my good-byes to my job and co-workers of the past fifteen years, and got started at purging and packing my house up for our move to Alexandria, VA. There have been moments when I could hardly put my thoughts together to get the words out or speak in complete sentences. In fact, consider it a miracle if this writing makes sense! But then, we live in a world of miracles: small and large!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been very aware of the miracles in my life that have brought me to this point in the journey.

On Sunday, July 26th, Father John Cell celebrated with us. His sermon could NOT have been more fitting for my “sending”. Both the Old Testament and New Testament readings dealt with those who receive instructions where the “math” just doesn’t add up. Father Cell told us in his sermon that it is very easy to believe in miracles after the fact. However, we are also asked to believe in miracles on the front end as well. Trusting all will be well can be a challenge, even for those of us for whom faith and trust seems a foregone conclusion. For me, the words he shared with us from Mark 9:24 really resounded, “I believe, help my unbelief.”

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 18:00

Feeling Loved

“Love” shows up in the Bible roughly 300 times. For me, this past month has been a time of experiencing God’s overwhelming love through the Body of Christ. It has revealed itself in a variety of ways in my life and am also thankful for the lessons He has provided; just when I thought I understood God’s love fully, something new was discovered.

First, I want to express my deepest expression of thanksgiving to those who have already responded to partner with me in ministry. 48 have responded to partner in prayer, financial support, and/or other means in response to the roughly 250 letters that were initially mailed to parish members, friends, and family members. Going to the mailbox has been a joyful experience each day. The support and personal notes that were included brought both smiles and tears, sometimes at the same time.

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