My first year in ministry, a look back at 2010

Written by Joel on December 31st, 2010

Google’s 2010 Zeitgeist video inspired me to take a look back at my first year in the ministry. Here are some interesting mile-markers along the way:

We lived in the parsonage which is next door to two other churches, but neither is the one I am serving. The church immediately next door is the same denomination, and was even the same parish years ago. St. Luke’s got the house in the split.

Our neighbor on the other side is the mayor of Timberville.

My first funeral was scheduled three months in advance. Someone had donated their body to science, and then her remains were cremated. They had a service when she died. Now a year later the family wished to inter the cremains. Because the time was flexible they chose a date which was suitable for the family. The week of the service a parishioner died and the family choose to have the funeral on the same day as the pre-planed service, earlier that morning. I went from a leisurely three month planing of my first funeral to a few days of planning and two funerals in one day!

I worked for the 2010 US Census. This was a part time ministry so I sought other employment to supplement my income. What a great way to learn about a new community.

I was the only person who wore a clerical collar at the Annual Meeting of the Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ (even though the collar is not all that odd in the UCC tradition around here).

I discovered the Order of Corpus Christi, a group within the UCC who shares my affinity for liturgy and a discipline of prayer.

I was elected (perhaps by default) to serve as the president of our local ministerial association. I’m sure it was because I am the newest and youngest clergy person in town.

The first wedding I officiated was on October 31, Halloween, which was a Sunday in 2010.

I preached at the Ruritan Community Thanksgiving service where I learned that I don’t like ham pot pie – a local staple.

I did not preside at a Christmas Eve service this year. Our church was gracious enough to grant me a month of family leave for the birth of our first child Penelope – in the month of December (certainly the most busy church season).

I met and prayed with a parishioner in the hospital the day after our daughter was born. He was on the floor just above us. He died three weeks later on Christmas day. His wife died exactly 10 weeks prior. Both funerals were an occasion to worship our Lord Jesus Christ who is the first born of the dead. The services were the same except for the scripture reading. They were married for 64 years, together for three quarters of their lives. They were to me an example of faith and love.

My last paycheck of the year was accidently post-dated by six years, a simple mistake by our treasurer.

Praying for a spirit-led 2011.


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