SO! About a week ago now, I flew up to Newark, New Jersey (first time there) and then went up to Stony Point conference center for a week of training and orientation and some seriously good times with some seriously passionate Presbyterians. But let me be honest, at first I was hating it. It felt a little like freshmen orientation and if you know me real well you’ll remember that I’m kind of super awkward and shy when I meet all new people. But then we started discussion in the big group and I was like whoa, these people cool. Of course it still took me almost the whole week to feel comfortable and like myself around everyone, but the week as a whole was crazy awesome.
Firstly, I had never really been in a community of Presbyterians like that before. Being in that context was so refreshing but even more challenging in the best way than I ever could have expected. The whole atmosphere was one of openness and liberalness that I had not experienced in an organization before, and it was great. It’s like every way that see myself growing and changing, these people were on the same page. Even the sessions were mind-blowing and awesome! But at the same time, it really got me thinking.
Part of me feels like I kind of snuck into the program among all of these super invested and political activists that have been doing service like this for years. The people sitting around me are people who desire change for the world and actively think about things like poverty and hunger and injustice while all I’ve really known to do is church ministry. All I’ve thought about has been youth ministry and what it takes for me to get there. But there was something about being in that room that really challenged me to think about what it would look like for us all to live and work together, called as ministers in different capacities.
But then, I started to think about it a little more. As we talked in Bible study one day about what it looks like to partner with the poor and those who are on the end of unjust systems, I couldn’t ignore a thought. The heaviness of the state of injustice kept piling on as we talked about globalization and politics and I had a hard time imagining my life in ministry without making great efforts to change such a crazy system. I found myself asking: How can I be committed to just a single church when I know about all the greater issues that are happening? And honestly, I’m not even sure I know the half of it! It was an idea I had never considered and do not have all figured out, but I do hope that this year is a time for exploring what it looks like to be more aware of myself, this world, and how I interact with it as a minister. We’ll just have to wait and see!