Monday, May 09, 2011

Another beautifully prosaic week in the life of a pastor

Continuing the practice of blogging a week of ministry, here's the second week of May:

Sunday- Mother's Day is also confirmation Sunday at our congregation, so we confirmed our 7th graders this morning. We have a great practice where the parents give a brief testimonial to and for their children before the children give their faith statements. Lots of special music shared. Later in the day, spent time in the yard building a new mulched perennial bed, ran 4 miles in the Vibrams with two of the kids in a stroller, and watched a bit of The Tourist.

Monday- Morning teleconference with our music director at Paul Westermeyer of Luther Seminary to plan our Trinity Sunday celebration of the new (for us) Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal. Staff strategic planning morning, look at our spiritual gifts and congregational vision in order to evaluate programming and planning for the remainder of 2011. Took communion to a family in Greenland, south of Fayetteville. They moved here from Bismark, ND to be with family. On the way back, stopped at the coffee shop for a Chemex pour over, and while sitting in the coffee shop trying to read the LIFT ELCA task force report, ended up in a fascinating conversation with a man who had served abroad administrating English language schools in Bolivia, Hong Kong, and most recently Kazakhstan. Fascinated by religion, he doesn't currently attend worship anywhere, but told the story of the rebuilding of the Russian Orthodox cathedral in his town after communion ended, and the group of Polish priests who moved to town and started a significant community ministry that revitalized the whole city. That was a coffee worth having, and yes, it meant I read very little of the report.

Back at church, made calls to potential members of the congregation, reviewed bulletin for Sunday, came home for to plant some flowers and play with the kids, and now an evening of writing council report, blogs, and perhaps finish reading the LIFT report.

Tuesday- Morning staff party saying goodbye to our longtime custodian who is moving to Kansas City. Counseling session, free afternoon with family (hopefully more running and playing in a stream nearby), then return to interview new custodial personnel, and lead evening Bible study (Acts 3).

Wednesday- All day attending the visit of the Dalai Lama to Fayetteville. I have tickets for the panel discussion and plenary, and the dean of the law school was kind enough to invite me to the "private" lunch with the Dalai Lama. Wow. Wednesday evening supper with the spouses of our staff, BBQ at Whole Hog.

Thursday- Day trip with neighboring pastor of Peace Lutheran Church to Tulsa to attend an ethnic ministries consultation at the synod office. Will be good to have time with the closest ELCA pastor, and good to hear our ethnic ministry (and especially Latino ministry) plans. I've already had some great conversations with the pastor of Salem Lutheran (LCMS) in Springdale and possibilities for us partnering with him (he is a missionary from Brazil) for joint Latino ministry between his congregation and GSLC.

Friday and Saturday- Like an actual two day weekend. Praise God.

Sunday- Worship and graduating seniors recognition, evening new member orientation class, meal, and tour.

Mixed in along the way, but with no specified times, are study and pondering time for the sermon on Acts, fining up Jeffrey Stout's fine philosophical volume, Democracy and Tradition (New Forum Books), as well as Derek Wilson's Luther: Out of the Storm, which is a resource I'll be using for a summer sermon series on Luther, the Reformation, and the development of Lutheranism. And a variety of other simple things, like writing a council report, pondering summer contemporary worship structure, and other things as they arise.

Hope such a description helps you picture how I spend the week. I'd absolutely love to read similar descriptions from folks in other professions.

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