I have been distracted lately. And not writing. Because all the big questions were discernment questions and they weren’t shareable in such a public forum.
I’ve resigned from my job as University Chaplain and am moving to Beijing. A really interesting and engaged congregation there have called Andrew and me to be Co-Pastors. We’re going to job-share, working half-time each.
The Congregation of the Good Shepherd are an independent, inter-denominational, international community who meet for liturgical Protestant worship in downtown Beijing. We visited with them a couple of weeks ago. We enjoyed getting to know them and experiencing worship with them. We had congregational Questions and Answers and it was a graced experience.
So we’re going. And it’s exciting. And a little scary. And in all of that there feels an undergirding peace and steadiness.
It all started after sabbatical last year when Andrew and I decided that there were live questions about the “what next” for us. We set ourselves the target of a year – of listening, waiting, praying, looking and hoped that by Advent 2010 it would be clearer to us whether we should stay in the jobs we had, one or both of us change, or something else…
We knew that with super-busy lives it would be easy to be all-consumed by what was in front of us – the immediate taking all our time and attention and energy. So we asked a small group of people to have lunch with us once a month and to be part of our discernment, keeping the questions live.
We kind of pre-empted that process. We’d met once. And sometime in January, while two in that group were busy becoming parents and the rest of the nation slowed to summer pace, we responded with an expression of interest to an ad that Andrew had spotted while browsing Church Times on-line. So did 70 or 80 others. I apparently told our discernment companions that “We’ve put our CVs in for a job that we’ll never get but is fun to think about”.
It didn’t turn out quite like that. On the 25th of April the congregation voted, extending a call to us. And we have responded with a “yes”. That explains my silence until now I guess. Not knowing what the outcome of the proces would be. Not wanting to unsettle people we work with before we knew anything. Not wanting to preempt the process, to make sure things were done decently and in order! But it’s out there now. Andrew announced it to his congregation on Sunday. I’ve talked to the people who see me regularly. And we posted the news on Facebook so it must be official!