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Take Me, Make Me, Mold Me, Lead Me

It's been almost two weeks since I attended the Diocesan Discernment Retreat.  Since then, I have engaged in regular prayer and reflection about my weekend and what I heard, learned, said and felt while at Richmond Hill.  This past week, I sat down with my priest to share my experience with him and where I feel I am as a result of it.  I'm not sure I specifically said anything about wanting to move forward, however my Rector was soon asking about next steps and discussing timetables as we proceed into  discernment as the diocese now outlines it.  I was more than a little caught off-guard when he said that if he were my Bishop, based on his experience of me these past 18 years, and my own journey the last 26+ years, he would promptly ordain me to the Diaconate and then have me read for Holy Orders.  Well, he is not a Bishop (thankfully in this instance) and while I am flattered by his confidence in me, I am not ready.  The statement "The Lord does not call those who are fit: the Lord makes fit those who are called" has since resounded in my heart, mind and soul in a new and different way.  And while I am not yet ready, I do feel called into a process of formation and education to become a priest in God's one Holy and Apostolic Church.  

In today's Daily Episcopalian on the Episcopal Cafe, The Rev. Elizabeth Zivanov, Rector of St. Clement's Church in Honolulu, Hawaii, raises a question about the formation and education of clergy.  She starts by writing "I’ve found myself in the line of fire more than once for suggesting that those who feel called to Holy Orders should not go directly to seminary after graduating from college. My rationale has been that those who follow this track do not have the life experience necessary to pastor a parish. Of course, I’ve been challenged and even called a few names because of this approach, so I continue to reflect on my reasons for being so stubborn about this".  She makes an interesting case for having some life experience in your back pocket as you step forward and answer's God's call to ministry.  You can check out her complete article, and responses to it, at http://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/episcopal_church/revs_drs.php#more.

Right now, this feels very much like the vow I made to Chrissie when I gave myself to be her husband, and took her as my wife:  "With all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.  In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  AMEN."  Here I am.  Send me.