This is a catch-up blog post, picking up where I left off this Summer. That’s right, I haven’t blogged for about five months. That’s the longest that I’ve gone without blogging of some kind in about fifteen years. My creative energies have been going full force, though – elsewhere.

Being busy has certainly slowed down the blogging: Being a Pastor for South Meriden Trinity UMC while taking two courses at Yale Divinity School, Local Pastor’s Licensing School, and balancing family concerns doesn’t leave much time for spare words to share with you. But there’s also a shift in my life that’s bigger than the clock. It’s about that collar, the change in how I am living my life as a servant of God. My life is really not my own, in a very wonderful way.

At one of the first chapel services for school this September, I came to it still wearing my clerical collar from a hospital visit earlier in the day. I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time, but then I noticed that I was the only one in chapel wearing a collar. It wasn’t that I felt that this made me special, but it confirmed a feeling that I had about turning a corner in my career. I took my studies seriously this fall, to be sure, but I am now being the person I pray that God wants me to be. And it seems to fit very comfortably.

When I finally got a recommendation from my Connecticut District ordination committee to be examined for ordination by our New York Annual Conference this coming March, I was speaking with a United Methodist clergyman briefly during a break. We talked about the collar, and how good it feels to wear it. It is a joy. We shared just a few gifts with one another in our family for Christmas, and I was overjoyed to get…a box of clerical shirts.

The collar doesn’t make you “important” or “better” or whatever you might think that it means to someone wearing it. The collar is a sign that serving others for Christ is the way that we want to live our life forever, a sign of a covenant relationship with God that we might not fulfill perfectly, but which makes us glad to share with the world our commitment. The collar rocks, and wearing it is a sign to the world that serving God rocks.

Being pastor of a church has been amazing, and I am in love with my mission field. You can catch up with what we’ve been doing here – just way too much to mention now. I just submitted the last of my ordination paperwork for my commissioning interview in March, and by May, I expect to be done with my education requirements. I will leave behind my graduate school days, then. I have enjoyed going to school immensely, and I have grown immensely through this process, but I accept – gladly – that the next phase of my life is already well under way.

It has all been for a wonderful purpose. And I am so very grateful for the path that has led me this far, and all of the people who have helped me on it, and all of the people whose lives I have been able to touch. I expect to pick up on blogging a bit more in the new year, but I didn’t want this year to pass without being able to with everyone a blessed New Year, and to make this new year one in which we all grow together in grace. Catch you next year!

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