The “irony” of God’s timing is not lost on me. It is Lent; a time for examination, a time of preparation, a time to give things up, and a time to take things on. It seems fitting that I am spending much of Lent visiting seminaries and examining what God has in store for the near future.
Galatians 5:25 says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” With each visit, my prayer is to pay attention to what God is saying about His desires for my formation. This time of discernment is not about finding my favorite seminary but about finding the seminary best suited to form me for God’s ministry. At one visit, a comment that stuck with me was that we are each like oysters who can produce pearls but only because of the grit. Each school has their own distinct, wonderful attributes. However, in addition to the aspects that may “woo” me, I need to watch for the pearl producing grit. Something that I don’t like might be exactly what God wants to use to mold me. I regularly remind myself that this decision is not about my desires but about His guidance.
As many of you are now aware, on January 10th, after meeting with the Commission on Ministry (the COM) and our Bishop, I received the “green light” to continue on the path that may lead to my taking Holy Orders as a priest in the Episcopal Church: I am now a “postulant”.
I say “may lead” because, as I’ve learned over the past year, there are many opportunities between now and then where this path may take another course. In the meantime, I thought I’d share my observations along the way since you played a huge role in my being on this path.
First, here’s a bit to catch some up to speed. Over the course of the past year, I was in discernment to discover more about my walk with God especially as it pertained to serving Him and His church. I entered Circles of Light, a diocesan discernment program for those looking at lay and/or ordained ministries, and came out of the program discerning a call to the priesthood: I became an “aspirant”. (Be careful at the pronunciation of that word or it’ll end up sounding like something that’s been coughed up!) That led to a time of local parish discernment with a committee who made the recommendation to the Vestry and Father Karl that my name should be put forward. That, in turn, led to the retreat for reflection time and interviews with the COM and Bishop where I was “green lighted”. (And, yes, that is the term that is used.) Which brings us to today.