Saturday, October 10, 2009


I sing because I'm happy;
I sing because I'm free.
His eye is on the sparrow.
And I know He's watching me.

Well, our State finally passed a budget and sent it to the Gov to sign. That's good and that's not so good.

It's good because the $$$ will finally get to the social service agencies that need them to take care of the less fortunate among us.

It's not so good because it means my Son will lose his job. The state legislature is robbing Peter to pay Paul by taking the money it needs from designated funds.

I'm sad, but my Son is OK. He keeps reminding me that when he and Daughter-in-Love got married, they were both jobless and homeless. God opened the doors then and Son is sure God will open other doors now.

This is the child who prayed for a blue jean jacket with a leather collar when he was six years old. We were in seminary at the time, blue jean jackets were all the rage and we couldn't afford one - even at the Goodwill.

But God heard his prayer and provided a blue jean jacket with a leather collar. It was a little big, having been bought "on sale" at Sears by an classmate acquaintence for her grandson. It was too small for her grandchild and she couldn't take it back, so she asked me if my son could wear it.

He could and he did - for two more years.

It's in my closet, hanging there to remind me that God does indeed answer prayer. Maybe I need to go pull it out and put it where I can see it and remember His eye is on the sparrow and He watches over my Son.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

All Coming Together

It starting to all come together!

CATC's Leadership "Dream Team" has been set up! Church Council Chair will be a retired CEO. LayLeader has already proven to be a good leader. PPRC Chair is an awesome people person. And Treasurer just rocks. He can find money from just about anywhere! These folks are such an asset to my ministry and CATC's ministry!

Our Early Church Summer Experiment is now become a permament part of the schedule. In fact, we've grown out of our Sunday School Room into an unused room with dividers. Between the two services, we have a lot of folks in worship! Praise God!

Started a coffee time between early service and Sunday School. Usually carries over after second service.

Pastor's Partners in Prayer have a blooming and blessed prayer ministry with a healing service after second worship the first Sunday of the month and a Service of Evening Prayer and Praise the last Sunday of the month.

Every Member in Ministry starts this month. Women's Bible Study Group starts next week. Giving is up and we're seeing new faces.

Praise be to God!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not a Good Thing

Do NOT use this business! They have a POOR track record of charging your credit card and NOT delivering the merchandise!!!!!

Songs and Creations, Inc.
(415) 457-6610
18 Mariposa Ave
San Anselmo, CA 94960-2809

It's been really frustrating!


Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged! What can I say - I've been really busy.

The Committee on Lay Ministry and I are trying to get the church's Leadership Team in place. If folks agree to serve, it should be a strong team. Once it gets in place, we'll be studying Five Faithful Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Bishop Schnase. I'm excited!

I'm in the middle of a six wedding stretch. I'll be glad when they're over!

I'm now the District's NCD co-ordinator. Since the Conference has mandated that all churches be involved in NCD or some other self-assessment by 2011, it's getting a bit busy. Not enough coaches.

CATC has started an early, non-traditional worship service. It's been well-received and well-attended. The second service is traditional - and well-received and well-attended. We have a fellowship time between first service and Sunday School and after second Worship. Lots of good comments!

I've also started a new adult Sunday School class. It's going well too!

Vacation in a week! Can't wait!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Annual Conference starts tomorrow. I've been trying to tie up loose end and for every one I get tied, it seems three more come loose. Asi es la vida.

I had better not see Previous Pastor at AC. Found out last night that he is doing the baptism after all - not in worship, but at a local park outside Small Town.

I've been told over and over again that he's a maverick - anti-Discipline and anti-Conference. But this is just plain rude.

On a practical note - do we record it in our records? He's not acting on behalf of Church Around the Corner.

I hate rewarding bad behavior.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Updates from Chez Grace

I rescued a little gray kitten from the storm water drain in front of the church. She's about 8 weeks old. Hubby and I adopted her. Her name is Jael and she's a real cutie. It's been four years since we've had a kitten. Her big brothers are getting terrorized by her.

It's summer. Both of our Bible Studies have ended until fall. That clears the way for more visiting and new projects.

This Sunday starts our new early Non-Traditional Worship. I've found a 17 year old guitar player who'll work for cheap, along with some canned music. I must confess, I'm a little nervous about the whole thing. It's not a praise band - but hey - "Where two or three are gathered ...".

In between early worship and Sunday School, we'll have a fellowship time. That will provide a fellowship time for the two worshipping congregations ... sorta.

I'm also starting a new Sunday School Class for young and middle age adults. The "Bible for Dummies" is the textbook.

The Partners in Prayer Group are starting a Prayer Ministry. The first Sunday of the month, if you would like to be anointed and prayed over, all you have to do is make your way up to the chancel rail after church. This group has been such a blessing!

Today is self-care day ... I get my nails done and a deep tissue massage. Yeah!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Word


It's the bane of blogging.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Best Mother's Day Gift

... is knowing that your Daughter-in-Love is saved and is hungry for knowing God better.

We're at Son's and DIL's for the weekend. DIL made the announcement Friday night. I told her that I had praying for her for 27 years - since Son was born and I had no doubts whatsover that God had brought them together. Every night, they read the Bible together and talk about what they've read. DIL was a C&E Catholic when they met with very little church experience.

We went to their church - a 4500 member Evangelical Free Church. I liked it - even if it is big. Son has been tapped to be one of the teachers in their Sunday School Class. They have a wonderful group of friends.

I am so blessed! A very full heart tonight indeed!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Can WeTalk?

Sigh. I have two retired pastors in Church-Around-the-Corner's congregation. One is an old-time EUBer, who I've known for years and the other just retired last year and CATC is his home church. I dearly love both of these guys. They have been valuable resources for history and advice. They also continually tell folks, "I'm retired. You need to talk to the Pastor." I really appreciate that.

Dilemma. The most recent pastor has also retired, but doesn't live in the area. So far in my tenure here, he's tried to get the Administrative Assistant fired for not finding his wife's transfer into CATC years ago. He's been inviting former parishoners to take cruises with him and his wife (You know - get six couples to accompany you and you get to cruise for free.) And last night, I was informed that he will be coming back to perform a baptism on June 28th for a couple who wants their baby baptized.

The cruise I don't mind. The Administrative Assistant issue and baptism I do mind.

The Pastor is ultimately responsible for the church records up-keep. It isn't the AA's fault that he didn't notice that his wife's membership had not been recorded. In fact, the records during his tenure have been hit or miss at best. In greater fact, his three predecessors had lousy record keepers too. Retired Pastor #1 (the EUBer) was the last best record keeper.

I appreciate the AA. She's like Message Central in the church. We get a lot of folks who just "pop" in. She is gracious and handles the interruptions well. She's also the gatekeeper for the Community Food Pantry which CATC hosts. She treats everyone with dignity and respect. She keeps track of meetings, meeting minutes, changing meetings and meeting reminders. (Previous pastor was never here, so PPRC only met once a year to set his salary.) She also puts together our powerpoint for worship. She juggles the demands of church and Community DayCare requests. She rocks! Is she the best secretary I've ever had? No. But she has my back and I have hers.

Previous Pastor got his shorts in a twist and demanded the Church Council Chair fire the AA. CCC ame to me and asked if I knew about the problem (Thank the Lord he is a reasonable and rational guy!). I hadn't and thought the request to dismiss her was a bit extreme and asked CCC to have Previous Pastor contact me. And of course, PP did not. And of course, AA wasn't.

PP was here last week to officiate at a interment of a former church family member who died on Good Friday. He and the family were close. I was told by a family member that he would be doing the service AND the church WOULD have a funeral dinner for them. I helped serve the dinner. And did PP talk to me? No. He said "Hi, Pastor," ate his meal and left. In all fairness, I didn't go to him either. He was constantly surrounded by CATC folks who wanted to renew acquaintances and I was busy washing dishes.

Now, we have this issue of baptism. Did PP contact me to ask if he could perform the baptism or did he advise the parents to contact me? No, he did not. PP performed dedications upon request (Not allowed anymore.) He performed baptisms upon request without counseling the
parents or the baptized-to-be if a youth or adult. He made my life more difficult by performing the dedications of infants. "But PP did it!!!"

But to come in and do this! June 28th is our GAP Service (Gather at the Pavillion) and we will be outside. We've already got the Worship lined up. And I got to tell the parents that (1) I will not let PP officiate (he can assist - if he asks me ) at the baptism and (2) June 28 will not work.

PP left this church a mess. His life was his Mission Corporation and he was not here more often than he was here.

I think I'm going to send him an e-mail and CC it to the DS.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Building a Mystery

(I always liked that song.)

To the one or two readers that may be reading my blog ... sorry. I've been busy.

This is the time of the year that the our United Methodist Conference powers-that-be demand an evaluation of its pastors. I don't mind being evaluated. It is a wonderful tool in opening discussions as to "what it is I exactly do." And really, it's a good thing - it holds me accountable.

However, it is the Clergy's Ministry Goals for the next 12 months second that drives me bonkers. It forces me to become far-sighted and look ahead. I'm a details person.

This mental and spiritual exercise of discernment has taken quite a lot of time. Such things do not happen overnight for me. I'm also a processor. And I try to listen closely to the Spirit.

My goals for the past 12 months have been:

1. Getting to know the CATC family and the area.
2. Starting a Pastor's Partners in Prayer
*Studying the book Pastor's Partners in Prayer by John Maxwell (New York: Thomas
Nelson. 1996)
*Using a weekly list generated by the pastor to pray for her, the church,
church meetings and programs and supportive prayer for concerns
*Meeting once a month for prayer and refocusing.
3. Listening to the comments, opinions, ideas and stories of the church family to
gain perspectives of pastoral leadership and direction of church ministries.
*In-home visitation of active members
*Active listening in meetings
4. Meeting monthly for the first six months with the SPPRC to share and address
ideas, concerns and expectations (church, SPPRC and pastoral expectations)
5. Working with the SPPRC Committee (and the inclusion of the Church Council Chair)
to develop a vision for the church.
*Core Value
*Mission Statement
*Scripture Verse
6. Discerning church leadership and spiritual gifts
7. Working on the church's infrastructure
*Asking board and committee members to commit to serve an additional year to
provide continuity for the church.
*Setting dates for regular meetings of each church board, committee and
ministry area (at least once a quarter)
*Providing training and education for board and committee responsibilities
8. And all the other stuff as per the 2008 Book of Discipline relating to pastoral duties and

So far, I'm on track with meeting these goals. You can add that I've started a Women's Bible Study and a Wednesday night book study; hostessed various opportunities for fellowship; and revamped worship.

My major goal for the next year is to continue building the church's infrastructure by starting a Leadership Team and selection of the right people to leadership positions. Phew.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things that Make You Go "HmmmHmmmHmmm"

  • You know, Elmer just might be able to be rehabilitated. I was right proud of him Tuesday night at the Church Council meeting and especially proud of him yesterday - he has a real gift for Senior Ministries. Yeah Elmer!!!! Pat on the back and a big hug, buddy!!!!!

  • Speaking about Church Council? Yeah, Mr. Boy Scouts Leader was there. When the Powers-That-Be had my back, he decided to make it ALL the church's fault because we hold their Charter, but haven't provided the necessary leadership as per our Sponsor Status. OK, dude - Do you really want me to tell you guys what you need to be doing to recruit new Scouts? Yeah - What will work in the church can be tweaked to other volunteer organizations. My best advice: Get off your bums and evangelize, er - recruit - new members and once you get them DELIVER THE GOODS YOU'VE PROMISED THEM. Just because the doors are open, I mean, just because there is a Small Town Boy Scout Troop does NOT mean they will be beating down the doors to get in. Sheesh.

  • Heard from the "Boy Scout Council." Ooooooh, big threat! They just thanked us for showing hospitality to not ONE, but TWO Scout Troops. "Thanks and keep up the good work!" Snerk.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Damn, damn, damn.

Monday, April 6, 2009

So I Didn't Win the Award Today


Mr. Boy Scout Leader called today and wanted to know if I told the "other" Boy Scout troop to drop their plans for a fundraiser breakfast to be held at Church Around the Corner.

Ahem. I told him that after having polled the Church Powers-that-Be, we had no problem with letting the church members who are part of that Boy Scout troop use the church for their breakfast.

Mr. Boy Scout Leader expressed his displeasure and disappointment that "we" weren't going to support our church's own troop. I asked if they had planned on using the church on that particular day. He replied, "No." I asked if they had any plans for using the church other than on their regularly scheduled night. Again no. I asked if the troop had anyone besides him and Mr. Other Leader Who Doesn't Come to Church that were church members or regular attenders. Again, "No."

I told him the church was not getting involved Boy Scout business. He said we'd be hearing from their Powers-That-Be. Sigh. OK. Whatever.

Lord, have mercy. The Boy Scouts.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Final Countdown

I've been busy with the usual Lenten/Easter stuff. I will be thankful when all that stuff is over and I can catch my breath.

Our Book Study on The Shack and our Thursday night Women's Bible Study are being well attended. Lots of good stuff going on there.

Lost my temper with Elmer, the LayLeader at last week's Finance Committee meeting when he called the less affluent church family members "freeloaders." I was so angry, I had to go get a breath of fresh air before I confronted him for the eleventy hundreth time.

I remembered why I don't like to sing in the choir. I'm not a soprano. I'm an alto and I'm really sorry if we have a gazillion altos and no strong sopranos. I cannot hit the high notes without screeching.

The church sponsored Boy Scout Troop leaders are trying to dictate to me who can use the church's Social Hall and who cannot. Duhr. The church holds your charter. My advice is don't bite the hand that gives you free access to the building. It's a freakin' pissin' match.

And I have to go for some medical tests after seeing my PCP and a neurologist. Both of them are thinking the new kind of headaches I've recently developed are not migraines.

But, today is Palm Sunday and Church Around the Corner is taking in seven new members!!!!

And today is Daughter #2's 28th birthday and she's coming for dinner and presents! YEAH!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Wonder Why?

... people who profess to love "their" church spend a lot of time trying to destroy it?

I'm looking for a new Lay Leader. Anyone want to swap??????

Friday, March 13, 2009


Does your church have a Little Old Lady who counts the stainless steel silverware to make sure no one inadvertantly takes any home?'ve.served.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pastoral Courtesy and Integrity

Once again I seem to have found myself in a dysfunctional ministerium. There is another woman - an extremely part-time Episcopal priest - five male clergy and me. One of the male clergy is my husband. I know he's pretty high functioning.

Our ministerium has two Free Meths, one Catholic, one Lutheran, the aforementioned Epsicopal and us two United Meths. We say we want to be united for the good of our Small Town community, but I am afraid we are anything but united.

Father Catholic Priest painted himself into a corner a couple weeks ago with the Small Town Council and then sent out e-mails to Small Town Ministerium with pleas for back-up. Father Catholic Priest write arrogant, condescending Letters to the Newspaper Editor and assumes he speaks for all the Small Town clergy.

Let me tell 'ya: Hubby has learned in the thirty years we've been married that he cannot speak for me. He knows and respects the fact I have my own mind, my own intellect, my own opinion and my own big mouth.

And resent the fact that FCP thinks I'm going to die in this particular ditch with him. He agrees with stuff we talk about in ST Ministerium meetings, but goes ahead and does his own thing. He's the loudest voice calling for a united front - but on his terms and with his agenda. He used the Community Lenten Luncheon last week for a podium for his political views and using communal scare tactics, said, "I don't want to stand alone. If you're a Christian then stand with me." Golly gumpers, grandma!

The second thing that's pressing my buttons this week is the fact that the two Free Meth clergy are visiting my parishioners. I arrived at the hospital this morning for a parishoner's surgery only to find the FM Associate Pastor there with the family. He "graciously" deferred to me when I prayed with the surgery patient and family, but patted the patient's foot and said he'd be back tonight. And I had another parishoner in the ER at the same time and they went north to Small City Hospital on one of the Great Sinkholes for a cardiac problem. Assoc. FM Pastor called his Sr FM Pastor and Sr. Pastor told him to tell me that he would meet the Cardiac Patient at the Small City hospital.

To say I was flabbergasted was an understatement. I'm too well-mannered to raise a fuss in front of folks, but you can bet the Small Town Ministerium meeting tomorrow morning will be rough and wooly.

Hubby went to the Small Town Council meeting last night and returned disgusted. Of course, Father Catholic was there (his usual arrogant self) and the Free Meths because they're standing up against "politically correctness." Hubby received a report on my transported parishoner - "he had his pacemaker tweeked and he will be fine."

What happened to pastoral integrity and courtesy???????????????

Monday, March 9, 2009

That God! What a Kidder!

Chronically Anxious Lady had her elective surgery this morning. Of course, she was first on the OR list. So, being the GOOD pastor that I am, I got up extra early to get to the hospital and have prayer with her.

Guess what song was playing on the local FM radio station when I parked my van at the hospital?

Yep. Hollenback Girl.

Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Better Mood

After THREE really good nights' sleep, I am in a better mood.

I'm signed up for a three day Women's Spirituality Retreat that starts on Sunday the 15th at a Adult Retreat Center near here. Can't wait for an opportunity to feed my contemplative soul.

We started a discussion/book study on The Shack last night. Ten folks signed up and seventeen showed up.

Tonight we're starting a Beth Moore Women's Bible Study. After we finished our initial women's bible study, the ladies decided they liked getting together so much that they wanted to continue.

D2 is coming home for the weekend! Yeah!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ain't No Hollenback Girl

You wanna piece of me? Bring it, Babycakes! (Imagine Kenau Reeves facing Hugo Weaving in the waning moments of The Matrix.) This shit is bananas!

I've put in over 70 ministry hours in each of the last three weeks. I'm tired, worn out and extremely irritable.

That being said, I got a phone call last night from the daughter of a perpetually whiny, chronically anxious, learnedly dependent and feignedly helpless parishoner who is having ELECTIVE surgery in TWO weeks. (Said daughter is a non-churchgoer). "Why didn't I mention that (her) mother is having surgery in two weeks at prayer time?"

Lessee ... Both of your parents were in church yesterday. Why didn't your mother (who is not afraid to speak out during a worship service) mention something about it? Or better yet, why not your father - he was sitting right there beside her? Or even better: If you are so concerned, why weren't YOU in church, lifting her up to the throne of grace?

Could it be perhaps I was blown away when another faithful daughter of God announced that she had terminal cancer and asked to be supported in prayer by her church family? Could it be that your mother - who loves to be the center of attention - thought she couldn't place a trump card on that news?

Or, how about the other 50 people who assault me before worship saying, "Would you announce ... ?" And the 20 others who say, "I know you're busy, but could you do this for me?"
And the folks who wait until the end of the service to dump on me.

Please, give me a break!

Bring it, Chickie. This shit is bananas.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A "Special Award"

I'm the most recent member of Small Town's Volunteer Fire Department & Ambulance Service.

Last night at their Appreciation Dinner, I received a "Special Award."

Remember this post?

Yah. When I received my turn-out gear, I put my leather pants on backwards and couldn't figure out what was wrong. Two of my parishioner (veteran firefighters) stood there and watched me struggle. Finally one of them said, "Uh, Pastor Net? The fly goes in the front."

My award? A teddy bear in full jump gear with signs that say "Front" and "Back."

I am loved!

How You Know You've Got Him Trained!

A post for Cheerful Friend who just got engaged!!!!!! Squee!!!!!

You know you've got your Hubby trained when ... you talk in your sleep and he answers (while he's still asleep too!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Church Matriarch joined the Church Eternal and Triumphant yesterday afternoon - a week after her stroke and five days after the withdrawal of life support. It's been a tough week for her family.

Small City Famous Hospital folks were absolutely wonderful. They treated CM and her family with dignity, respect and a lot of care. I am grateful for the compassion and support they gave as the process went and on and on.

I was particularly impressed with the palliative care physician and his CRNP. When it became apparent that CM had a significant brain injury and would not recover, the neurosurgeon called in the PC team. On Thursday, when I was visiting, PC Doc stopped in to check on her. He was gentle and soft-spoken and he won me over! We talked for over an hour about bioethics, quality of life, etc.

His approach is holistic. He was concerned about the family's spiritual needs and told me that in his years of PC, he had never encountered a pastor doing a hospital visit. And when he would call upon a family's pastor for pastoral care, he was told, "I don't do that. I leave it up to the hospital chaplains." Wow. I found that hard to believe. I told him I wasn't like that. I was hands on, purely relational and didn't mind doing visiting.

He offered me a job as the PC Team's chaplain! He's building a team to offer the best PC care at Small City's Famous Hospital. He's in charge of assembling a multi-disciplinary group of individuals to provide the best quality of life for PC patients ... medical direction, spiritual support, masseuses, music therapists, etc. I would love to be working with a team like that!

Unfortunately, I really love where I am at right now. If this offer came at this time last year, I'd be all over it. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I would miss the preaching, the Bible Studies, the Youth Group, the Confirmation Class ...

Yeah, I'm a rural small church pastor. And that's all right.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sad Day

Despite the Steeler's last second miracle catch to win Super Bowl 43, it's a sad day at Chez Grace.

Our Son is losing his job due to state budget cuts. His father reminded him last night that the week before he and Daughter-in-Love were married, they had no jobs, no prospects for jobs and would be homeless. God opened doors for both of them. God is always good.

I'll be traveling to Nearby Small City on a Great Sinkhole this afternoon. One of church family's matriarchs had a brain stem bleed on Saturday. Against the family's better judgment, she was intubated and transferred to famous Small City Hospital. The bleed got worse. Tonight, the last of her family will arrive, say their "goodbyes" and she will be disconnected from life support.

Since I was born and raised in this District, I've known Church Matriarch for over thirty years - since I was in my twenties. Matriarch and I were active in District Activities - she was UMW District President and Hub and I were District Youth Coordinators. She said she was so excited when she heard I would be her pastor. She's a grand lady and my life has been blessed knowing her. God will take her hand and welcome her to her heavenly home and God will be with us. God is always good.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hey, Hey Goodbye!

I've survived the loss of the first church family to leave the Church Around the Corner. It seems the church isn't changing fast enough for the husband, so he decided to find a church that's more progressive. After threatening to do it since I've been here, he finally did it. He sent me an e-mail. My reply? "So sorry. I understand. Go in peace. It's the desire of my heart that you find what you're heart is searching for and the church you choose recognizes the gift they been given."

I survived!

Crazy Busy

I've been Missing in Action because I've been crazy busy. For me, January has always been a reorganization month.

I won't dis my predecessor because comparing the two of us is like comparing apples and oranges, but he wasn't a meeting kind of person. In fact, there was a time when the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee didn't meet except once a year to set his salary. He was about as "hands-off" as you can get for a pastor. But he LOVED these folks. And when he came, they needed some loving up. He was their healer.

The time for laurel-sitting is over. It's time to get to work and be in ministry. That means training folks to be leaders and take responsibility. I've developed job descriptions for all the boards and committees and I'm holding them to their jobs. After six months of listening, this is what THEY want ... accountability.

They also want "meat." To quote them, they've been fed "formula" long enough. I'm starting another study ("The Shack") on Wednesday nights. Our Women's Group has been such a blessing and so well-recieved that we're going to continue on with a Beth Moore study.

Oh, and they're participating in a Community-wide Chili Cook-off to help defray the costs of training a Service Dog. The motivation: We have one who is a regular Worship attender (and very well behaved, might I add!). They want DISCIPLESHIP.

I'm having a blast!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This Week

I don't know exactly how to explain about this week. It's like "Define the universe and give three examples." Yeah. It's been that kind of a week.

I preached on our UM understanding of baptism. I mean, my understanding of the UM understanding of baptism (see my last post). Sunday's God-incidence happened in the guise of that young man and his girlfriend.

Monday's God-incidence happened when one of CATC's prayer warriors came and asked if I have ever considered starting a healing ministry. Uh, no. Healing is one of the spiritual gifts I've been given. but I'm not opposed to having someone with that gift lead a ministry. She has that gift and the Spirit's been prompting and leading her for years. My two predecessors didn't want "that kind of stuff" happening in "their" church on "their" watch. I've come to know this woman in past six months. She's on my Partners in Prayer team. We've been praying for an outpouring of the Spirit on CATC, its people and its ministries. God-incidence #2.

#3 happened in a Church Council meeting on Tuesday after the church's business stuff had been taken care of. A young man in his 30's asked if he could address the rest of the group. He was given permission by the Chair and then proceeded to talk about the Youth, the Young Adults and the Middle Agers (his age). What he said was in line with everything I've been saying these last six months. When one of the old-timers asked, "What can we do?" the man answered, "Let's sit down and talk about it together. And let's leave Pastor Net to faciliate and listen to our dialogue. CATC's ministry starts with us and God, not her." Whoa! Holy Spirit time!

God-incidence #4 happened during a pastoral home visit on Wednesday. I went to visit New Friend who wanted to speak with me. She's also in my PIP group, a prayer warrior, loves the Lord with everything she's got and just "retired" at my tender age to spend more time with her family from a CEO postion. We're sisters from different mothers. She told me how she had been praying about CATC and that the Lord would send the "right" person to lead them when Previous Pastor retired. She sees what's happening in the church and is praising God for the leaps and bounds of faith that's been going on. She pledged her prayers and support.

And then we had us some deep theological conversation. Turns out she has a BA in Bible! I can't tell you how wonderful it was to be able to converse with someone using BIG words! Her background is in Social Work too, so I had a marvelous time talking theology and social science with her.

She asked me if I had read "The Shack" yet. I told her I hadn't - I'm not very fond of Christian fiction (gagging noise). New Friend gave me her copy and asked me "to read it with an open mind." I thanked her and told her I would.

Thursday was self-care day. I had my nails, my eyebrows and my toes done (Opi's Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not). I travel 30 miles to go to the Salon Where Everybody Knows My Name. These folks are like my family! I had a wonderful conversation with the manicurist and we prayed together when I was done. After listening and ministering to the lady who does my 'brows and toesies, she hugged me tightly and whispered, "I just love you." I chatted with the other beautician's father who calls me "his favorite preacher," although he's never heard me preach and I doubt if he goes to church. He has a good heart and I pray for him, too. God-incidences #5, #6, and #7.

I finally open "The Shack" when I get home.!!!!

Y'all know I'm a REALLY BIG "Joan of Arcadia fan. And I freely admit her character (right along with Teresa of Avila) has influenced my understanding of God. In each of these God-incidences I have stated my position and my notions about God. I get "asked" (commanded, ordered, prompted) to do things that I'm not sure where or what they're going to lead towards. I try to be faithful. I've listened to God's voice for so long, I KNOW what is sounds like. Like Joan and Teresa, I've often asked God, "How do you want me to do this and what shall I use?"
Sometimes I get an definitive answer and sometimes I'm left to figure it out.

Anyway - back to "The Shack." EVERYTHING I've talked about this week with others has been affirmed through this little book. I'm thinking of making it our next Thursday night study book.
God-incidence #8.

And tomorrow I shall preach about: "I'm listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?" God-incidence #9.

As always, I am amazed and delighted at the way God. works.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Great White North

Hosers take off! (I've always wanted to say that - but I'm not Canadian. I do have good friend who is French Canadian and a Pentecostal pastor. When she starts speaking, I'm never sure if it's in tongues or Quebecquois!) I feel like I live in the Great White North today. We've got a good foot of snow with wind chills below zero. The cats have been camping out by the fireplace.

We had more in worship today than I thought. Brave, brave souls.

A young couple came that I didn't recognize. The church family pulled them into loving and caring embraces, talking animatedly with them. They left before I had the chance to go over and introduce myself.

Turns out, I've already met the young man. He dropped a lot of his mother's stuff off at the church after her death. After he left, both Hubby and I looked at each other and said at the same time, "He has such sad eyes. He must have a story to tell."

He was arrested shortly afterwards for drug possession. I found out by reading the newspaper.

The church family filled me in on his story. He attended Church Around the Corner from the time he was brought in his mother's arms until the time he became an angry, rebellious teenager. The good folks of CATC have watched over him, prayed over him, loved and cared for him all through his life. Today, he came back "home" and they rejoiced and loved him up. Sounds like a parable we've heard, doesn't it?

This church is just so awesome. Not perfect - not by any stretch of the imagination. These are good, good folks.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We're entering Round 2 of a significant snow event up here in the tundra of the Great Sinkholes. It's not like the last place we lived where you could get 2 and one-half feet of snow at a time. But the Small Town folks are telling me this is the snowiest winter in a long time.

Some blame me by telling me I brought the Snow Belt down when we moved. I tell them, "I'm not that homesick!"

Anyway, we've got 9" on top of ice with an additional foot on the way.

Wonder how many folks will be at Worship tomorrow?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Rumors of My Demise ...

I'm still here. Lots of stuff to blog about. Lots of stuff going on in Church Around the Corner. It's mostly good!

What does it mean when the Bishop requests to be your friend on Spacehook?