Come as a stranger, leave as a friend

       I hope this month’s newsletter finds you all in the midst of a sabbath summer!  I hope  you  are taking time to rest, play, visit, swim, and eat!!     I hope you are enjoying “unscheduled” time.

       As a Pastor it is very important for me to practice what I preach. I struggle greatly with “unscheduled” time.

       Actually, this “call,” “job” of being a Pastor, is all about unscheduled time, it is that way on purpose.

       Your schedule is my schedule.

       People ask me what the hardest part of this job has been. I am laughed at when I say, “There is no real schedule.”  I usually get a sarcastic response, “Oh, that must be so hard for you?”

       But for someone who punched a clock for over thirty years it has been hard to get used to. 

       Of course, I have regularly scheduled things, like meetings, worship prep, writing my sermons, larger church meetings, meeting with seminarians, and so on.

         It has been hard to not call “a boss” when I have to go to a doctor’s appointment.  It is very unnerving not having to place my days off on a shared workplace calendar. Early on, I was sending emails to the Executive Committee listing everything I had done during the week. When I had my one-on-one with our Moderator he said, “We are all grown-ups, accounting for every minute of your time is not necessary.”

       But isn’t that what we do? Don’t we feel like every minute needs to be accounted for? What if we treated “schedule” like it is a bad word? If we banished it from our vocabulary. Of course, we need to adhere to time in order to be courteous,  and respectful of other people. I mean  schedules we place on ourselves.

       I used to make a scheduled list every morning when I was journaling. My journals are my written prayers to God. I do not know when I started making lists. Recently I realized how silly it was. Lists are for the back of a piece of scrap paper, or a discarded envelope, not in prayer. God does not care about our schedules or our lists.

       That being said, “If you need me call me, I will be there in a hurry, on that you can depend, and never worry” (Diana Ross) because my schedule is your schedule!

Pastor Val

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  1. They tell passengers on an airplane to make sure that they put their mask on first. They tell mothers to make sure that they take of themselves or they won’t be fully there for their children. A Pastor once said (last month 🙂 ) “Let us find sabbath space this summer. Maybe we can learn from our Jewish brothers and sisters. Try to get everything done on Friday to enjoy a carefree Saturday, or whatever day works for you. Write your sabbath day on your calendars.” I love a Pastor that is there for me when I need her, but I also want a Pastor that is there for her first, so she can be fully there for me (and others) when needed. Schedule the down time for yourself (but you don’t need to report it out 🙂 ).

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