Not a good day

17 10 2007

Received two bad pieces of news today.

I work as an Executive Assistant at a financial services firm and have worked for the same man for about 4 and a half years now. He’s very very difficult (think the movie Wall Street or the book Barbarians at the Gate) and has had a high turnover rate in his office before i came along. I handle his personal affairs and there is another assistant to handle his business affairs. The bad news is that he is submitting a bad year-end performance review. The past three years I have received very good ones and have also received nice year-end bonuses. When we sit down and go over the results of the review, I plan on having some rebuttal points for us to talk through. It’s just icing on the cake for a very tough month at the office anyway… i have been way way too busy and stressed to do things i really enjoy like writing these lectionary reflections and blogging, as well as doing church stuff or going to the gym. Grrrrr……

The other piece of bad news is that I heard from my diocese today regarding my discernment application. They want me to withdraw from the process for one or two years and, amongst other things, get more experience doing ministry type stuff (never mind my parish is like my second job), see a psychiatrist and a spiritual advisor, and save up more money for seminary. Saving more money and seeing a spiritual advisor are good things in and of themselves, but i question the whole psychiatrist thing and the experience stuff. I mean i’m on the altar guild, our outreach committee, and i started and co-ordinated refreshments for our Sunday evening service! And no offense, i’ve yet to meet anyone in the ministry who isn’t a little off. Who wants a boring priest?

I know things happen for a reason, and everything will sort itself out in the end, but it’s definitely one of those “what’s the point” kind of days.

UPDATE: I have commented below on what my next steps are to be

Discernment Update

9 08 2007

Earlier this week I met with the Canon for Ministry for the diocese.  We talked about all sorts of things, from who were/are my most influential role models  to how was I planning to finance my seminary education. 

Next steps are as follows:  Once the background check and the psychological evaluations are completed, shortly after Labour Day the bishop will review my file and then should he approve, I will start a series of one-on-one meetings with members from the Commission on Ministry.  So … assuming all goes well, i’ll attend what they call a discernment conference in mid-to-late January where I should get a near-final answer.

I was told I could start looking at seminaries, but with the understanding that where i go is a decision that is made in consultation with the bishop, and also assuming that i get admitted as a postulant in the diocese.  After downloading a few applications, what did i find?  Yet MORE 3-5 page ESSAYS to write which are different than what i’ve already done!  Blogging will continue to be light through Labour Day as a result but do feel free to pop in and say hello.  My personal atheist will make sure that i’m not totally absent. 🙂

One interesting thing that was asked during the meeting was she wanted me to describe what i felt was a passage from the Bible or the Prayer Book or something appropriate which would describe my sense of calling … I thought for a minute and chose this one from John … Jesus says to the disciples (and to the whole Church, for that matter) “You did not choose me, but I chose you. I  appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”  That’s always resonated with me, even as a kid. 

So many people spend a lot of time looking and searching for God, or a connection with something bigger than themselves.  I can only be in awe as the Bible tells us the story about how it was God that was looking for us and calling us all along.

Where on Earth Have I Been?

17 07 2007

OK, so I have been very very guilty of neglecting this blog … It’s been quite a busy few weeks for me …

I spent a few days with SIR at the place where he’s working over the summer, which was really nice.  We hadn’t seen each other in a month, and I tell you it was quite a reunion!  It took me a few days before I had fully recovered from the experience ;-).  It’s been just about a year since SIR and I first met, so when he was home last week we had a nice talk about what we’ve done, where we’re going and all that, and it all turned out very very positive.

For the first time in very long time, Im really really REALLY happy with everything going on.

Except my day job.

But, that’s another story altogether. 

However, the job allows me a nice standard of living and something to do during the day so I don’t get too bored … or into trouble.

Oh, and it pays the rent, too.

The other big thing that has been going on is that I received my application package from the diocese, so I’ve been working on that.  I’ve been on mandatory shrink appointments, got a complete (and i mean COMPLETE) physical, had a personality test, and IQ test, and basically been mentally and physically poked and prodded every which a way.  My favourite questions I was asked on the personality test included “Are you now or have you ever been possessed by evil spirits?” followed by “Do you feel that you are called by God to have a certain mission in life?” in addition to “Do you enjoy being hurt by the ones you love?” and “Do you enjoy hurting the one’s you love?” I, of course, answered “no” to all of them except the “called by God” one. 

And in case anyone is interested, the shrink said I was “very smart” and “very complex.”

I sent the official application off to the diocese, which included my resume, a list of the different churches i’ve attended, my spiritual autobiography, my “leadership history” in both the secular and ecclesial world  (SIR just LOVES the way I say “ecclesial” by the way) ,  a behavioural questionnaire, two recent passport sized photographs and a partridge in a pear tree.

So, as you can see, there’s all sorts of things that have been consuming me in addition to the normal summer activities such as being outdoors, bike rides, parties, etc.  With my application off to the diocese I should have a lot more time for blogging and spreading the wisdom of the Reverend boy.

The votes are in …

9 05 2007

Last night I attended part of my parish’s vestry meeting along with one of the members of the discernment committee.  I preached a brief homily and then had a 30 minute Q&A session with some very interesting questions.

I apparently won them over because I got word from the rector earlier today that I had been unanimously approved to go forward in the discernment process!!!  I go before the Bishop and the other such discernment folks at the diocesan level most likely in the fall.


Thanks to everyone for their prayers. 

Prayer request — Vestry vote Tuesday, May 8

3 05 2007

As those who check in to teaheepeehee on occasion will know, I am currently in the discernment process to be an Episcopal priest.  I am also the first openly gay aspirant from my parish. 

The discernment process varies some from diocese to diocese, but it generally takes three phases:  1) Have conversations with your rector 2) a parish level series of meetings with a committee formed by the rector and 3) a modified repeat of phase two at the diocesan level.  The amount of time varies for each phase.  Since I am technically a recent “convert” (having left the Baptist tradition and being confirmed as an Episcopalian in 2005), it’s taking a while.  Phase one lasted a few months, and phase two has taken the better part of a year.

On Tuesday, May 8th, phase two culminates in a brief presentation to the vestry by myself and a representative from the committee, who will then vote on whether or not to send me ahead to the bishop.

Things have gone well so far, but it can be an exhausting experience. For one, you have to articulate answers to questions such as “What do you feel is your specific ministry and why do you have to be ordained to do it?” and “Along with your other gifts, to what extent do you feel that your orientation is a gift to the church?”

Overall, I feel pretty good about everything.  I don’t see any real reason why I would be turned down, but I do know that it is a reality I might have to deal with.  I suppose the jitters I might be feeling would be understandable for anyone who is one step closer to a change of life.

In short, I am asking for prayers from everyone that might read this.  My hope is that I will represent myself honourably and authentically, and above all, that we will continue to be guided in this process by the Holy Spirit.