For all paperwork purposes, today is the official start of my becoming the new senior pastor of a United Church in Vermont. For 5 months, Lauren and I have packed and prepared for this moment all the while with Violet at our feet. We left Winston-Salem in a whirlwind; our house on the market and hooding/graduation altered to fit our early departure. Even the act of actually leaving proved difficult as one of our cats became spooked and hid in a crawl space for several hours. So much for planning and smooth sails.
Vermont has welcomed us with colder temperatures, something we are appreciative for after coming from the land of perpetual humidity. We had meals awaiting us in the fridge with a few different jugs of maple syrup added for good measure. Our belongings showed up later in the week and several of my new parishioners showed up to lend a hand in getting the items off the trailer and into the parsonage. Getting unloaded was one thing, finding a home for them was another challenge. Fortunately, several folks volunteered to come over and “distract” Violet for a few hours each day so Lauren and I could get stuff put away.
There has been so much generosity I could blush. I’ll save those stories for a more personal setting. Folks give pretty freely here. That was a draw fo us as a family. We saw a place that depending on one another for community...and dared go a bit further by embodying what it means to love thy neighbor. Lots of words have been used to describe this move North,
I like to think I’m sensitive to language, and while all these descriptors fit, it’s hard not to see what we’ve done as accepting “a call” in the truest and most vulnerable sense. Lauren accepted this call as much as me and while we are certainly not a “two for one” package. Her role alongside me will be cardinal. I’ve often pushed back against the term “professional” and have even found myself at odds with “vocation.” Being “called” is about the only thing that I feel comfortable with claiming. Call leaves some opportunity and chance up in the air for God’s Spirit to move in and out of freely. I didn’t come to Vermont with an agenda or plan as to how to better do church. I came with my family to try and walk with people in life and on a spiritual level. The hope is that together with my neighbors we can find some new ways to tell the Jesus story and see what is possible when the Kingdom of God comes near us.
Sitting in my office this early morning...I’m excited about Sunday.
I’m also pretty excited about the rest of the week too.
As you were,