I realize it's been a somewhat newsy day in the Anglican universe, and I shall in due time have something to day about it, no doubt.
But for me personally, and therefore for this blog, something else looms larger at this particular time.
Last week I accepted a call from the Vestry of St Anne's Church, Warsaw, Indiana (Diocese of Northern Indiana) to become their next Rector. My ministry at St John's will come to an end July 15th, and I will take up duties in Indiana a month later. (Yeah, I gave you a link, but they're not presently very adept at keeping the website updated, so it doesn't yet reflect the news.)
Obviously, this is the discernment project referred to in the post prior to this one. Brenda and I are at peace that this was a good decision for us--indeed, a "God thing." We genuinely look forward to our new life in Warsaw, and I find my sense of eagerness increasing daily as I think about St Anne's and the wonderful people we met there and the opportunities that a new ministry brings. But at this moment, we are still awash in the Tears-R-Us phase of the process as the news has now gone out officially to the members and friends of St John's. It's even being blogged about here and here.
A friend of mine I spoke with on the phone yesterday shared a piece of advice to clergy, ultimately attributed to a bishop: "Be sure and leave while you're loved." We didn't consciously set out to do so, but we're evidently following that advice. The experience is almost unbearably crushing at times. I can't say that I enjoy making people cry. No one has tried to heap abandonment guilt on us (well, maybe a couple have tried), but there's no need for it, because Brenda and I are quite capable of doing that to ourselves! No, the tears are of grief, and not, so far, of anger.
I will be curious to observe the extent, if any, to which this move makes me or my ideas less "interesting" to anyone, because I'm moving from a diocese that is on Red Alert to one where the alert level is more on the order of Pale Yellow. Neither diocese is in the the regnant mainstream of the Episcopal Church. San Joaquin is a "Network" diocese, and either may or may not be involved in an effort to take the struggle to the proverbial "next level." Northern Indiana is a mere "Windsor" diocese, and has not, so far as I can tell, even thought of asking for Alternative Primatial Oversight.
In San Joaquin, my position within the system has evolved to one that stands solidly with the Bishop in his theological and moral positions, but raises a host of pragmatic and strategic questions about any rush to action that we might regret after the die has been cast. In Northern Indiana, it remains to be seen what my role within the system will be, but it will be different than it is here. Brenda is banking on a lot less drama than has become the norm in San Joaquin. I've got to admit, that doesn't sound bad to me! But I will not shy away too long from finding my voice in the new environment. So don't go anywhere; I'll be right here in this corner of cyberspace.