Friday, June 23, 2006


Retirement felt so good. Because I live close to churches I previously served, I felt I was safe pew sitting in a Congregational church. No expectations, or demands, only preaching once in a while, and not being a member, I was not put on any committees. I figured I was home free. Wrong!
God has a way of nudging me even when I thought I was out of the line of fire. Encounters with folks from one of the churches I served kept finding me and informing me about what was going on. “Not my concern” I told myself. But something was gnawing at my soul. Retirement income is not enormous, but we get by in an okay fashion. I have lots of free time and am engaged in helping after-pastors deal with the unhealthy dynamics of their churches.
The Divine nudge kept urging me to volunteer for an appointment to this very small church. It looks a bit like the church/school house on “Little House on the Prairie.” Folks in the church have done a major renovation to the parish hall and have a full schedule of events this summer and into the fall season.
Wrestling with God brought out my best arguments. I spend 30 years dealing with wounded churches, hurt by clergy sexual misconduct. I had done my part, and this was one of those churches. Why would I want to go back there? I must be nuts, because I found myself offering to serve this little, struggling church. What was I thinking?!
Well, it is a done deal, and I begin the first Sunday in July. That Divine nudge would not go away, and now I am excited about finding out how far this church has come since I left 10 years ago. The offending pastor left 20 years ago and was removed from pastoral ministry forever.
At the interview, I told them “I know what I know; what I don’t know is what I don’t know.” I will have to listen carefully to hear where they are now. I know the human tendency is to freeze situations in time and refuse to acknowledge where people have grown and changed. This will be my growing edge and ever present challenge. It is my hope that enough healing has taken place, that we can begin and a point of new beginnings.
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