Top Ten Things Learned This Weekend at Peace U.C.C.
10. There is nothing that tires a three-year-old out more than two solid days of attention from grown-ups. There was Miss Renee who supplied him with a steady supply of M&M's (she even learned he liked the red ones and carefully weeded out the other obnoxious colors!), there was Mrs. Pool who let him play in the nursery school room and showed him the tent where he could hide from unsuspecting friends, and there was the kindly gentleman whose name I have not yet memorized who held him up (in a three-piece suit) more than five times (that I saw) to take a drink from the "very cold" water fountain. Grayson has no idea what kind of blessed future we stumbled into as this congregation clearly basks in loving their children.
9. There is nothing quite as affirming as walking into a church after a vote and receiving a standing ovation. I wish everyone on this planet could have that kind of adoration and grace offered them (and I hope I can live into their expectations).
8. Church potlucks and open houses are still the best food in town (and I am a picky eater, so this is high praise). I specifically recommend for any future church function the tortilla dip and the spinach bars. Superb!
7. A church that takes seven months from the time of your first interview until you are called to the pastorate is worth every single day you waited and every single night of lost sleep. Process is incredibly important.
6. Having incredible interim pastorates in place before coming on board is a gift. And the fact that they offer to provide you spiritual support and counsel is an added blessing.
5. When Peace United Church of Christ called me to minister today it was because I stood on the shoulders of those who have called me to ministry. This morning I am especially grateful for those who named my call before I could put into words For Louie and Phil Rieman who said, "Christen, if you perceive a need, it is a call" and then believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. For Deanna Brown and Susan Boyer who called me into Deanna's office one morning after a Manchester College chapel and offered a blessing of me. For my sweet sisterhood, who hold my stories, and my truths in their hands.
4. That any man (specifically Thom Moore) who comes to call you back into the sanctuary after you have been sequestered in a private room during church vote in the sanctuary with a pinwheel in his breast pocket and a sparkle in his eye is offering good news.
3. That there are miles to go in our partnership together as we serve God, follow Christ and work together to bring about the community of God.
2. That having a secretary with a beautiful lilting English accent may be a colossal waste of time for her, as I may simply keep babbling to her all day so she'll answer me with that beautiful voice (although I have a hunch we'll be chatting together about many more things than just the color of the paint they've offered to paint our offices!).
1. That I am blessed. Beyond words. Beyond description. Beyond expectation. And God is good.