(“Postulant’s Path” article for Grace Sheboygan’s November Angelus newsletter)
As I sat in the pew at Grace during the 10:15 service recently, I was struck by how many faces were new to me. Seeing these faces reminded me of when, not so very long ago, I was new at Grace. It was October of 2008 when a Grace parishioner invited me to come to church for healing prayer because, at the time, my world was crumbling around me. I didn’t know then that his invitation would be the beginning of a journey that today finds me counting down the days to seminary graduation. God has an amazing way of turning our heartache into joy, if we allow it.
As of Nov 1st, there will be 197 days until my graduation from Virginia Theological Seminary. May 17th will be that much closer. Now, before you think me counting down because I am anxious to leave this place, you would only be partially right. I am anxious to leave seminary in order to begin work in God’s Kingdom. However, the work of God’s Kingdom takes place every day so the countdown is also recognition of how little time I have left at seminary to put tools in my toolbox for that work. It is also recognition that soon I’ll say “good-bye” to the many people I currently spend each day with.
There is much to do in the remaining 190+ days. First, there is this semester to finish and an ordination to prepare for. On December 14th, I will fly back to WI once the semester’s assignments have been turned in. On December 16th, along with Paul Aparicio and Isaiah Brokenleg, I will be ordained to the diaconate (God willing and the people consenting) at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Fond du Lac, WI at 11:00 AM. My hope is that many of you will join us for this joyous occasion in our lives.
My time in WI will be brief since I need to be back at school to prepare for board exams. The General Ordination Exams will take place Jan 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. Each of the three days, Isaiah and I (and many other seminarians) will sit for 3.5 hours, twice each day, writing essay responses to show our proficiency in six canonical areas: Holy Scripture, History of the Christian Church, Christian Theology, Christian Ethics and Moral Theology, Christian Worship, and the Practice of Ministry. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated for both the preparation period and the exam days. In addition, there are several resource books that I haven’t yet acquired during my time at seminary that would be helpful. If you can help, my Amazon Wish List can be found at: http://a.co/iyWm5VV
I am pleased to announce that, once the exams are over, I will be headed to Jerusalem. I am one of twelve VTS students selected to spend three weeks learning in Israel. We have received scholarships for our tuition, room, and board. We need only cover our travel, insurance, and souvenir expenses. We will participate through St. George’s College in Jerusalem in a three-week educational pilgrimage. At the end of our course time, I have chosen to stay a few days longer to visit my former classmate, Wadie, who is now serving in Nablus, Palestine (home of Jacob’s Well). There will also be an opportunity to visit with my teacher from this past summer, Father Kamal Farah, in his hometown of Nazareth. Father Kamal will be in WI in June and I hope many of you will meet him then.
There is SO much going on over the next 90 of these 197 days! Ordinations, exams, travel. A house to sell, a resume to update, and a job search/call to serve to embark on. I am blessed beyond words by your love, support, and prayers! It all began nine years ago when I was invited to Grace. My heart is full!! There is much to do and I give thanks that there is. I give thanks for the many blessings of God’s love, especially our Grace family.
Blessings and prayers-