March 29, 2008


I'm in a season of phone interviews right now. I've been asked some really great questions by call committees. Most have forced me to really define who I am and what I'm looking for.

Others are more humorous (depending on your interpretation). Here's one of them:

What's your vision?

Now after the fact I wish I would have said 20/20. But really the question was vague. We had already talked about my call story, the church's history, and the Presbyterian church. Did they want to know about my vision for ministry? for my life? for the congregation? for the PCUSA? After getting clarification, I told them I couldn't see years and years into the future. The most I could do was seek where God is calling me now.

March 18, 2008

Entering Into Holy Week

This past Sunday I entered into Holy Week in a whole new way.

I'm part of a liturgical dance/movement choir at the church I attend in town. The church marked both Palm and Passion Sunday in worship. The first half of the service focused on Palm Sunday, complete with parade and processional with palms. The second half of the service, beginning with the second scripture reading and sermon, focused on Passion Sunday.

The scripture reading of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane was interpreted through dance - Jesus and the three disciples moving to the Taize chant "Stay with Me." The group had been working on the piece for a couple of weeks during short practices on Sunday afternoons. But the text didn't stay there. I've lived with the text running through my mind, my heart, and my body for two and a half weeks now. And Sunday when we were able to offer the dance in worship, I entered into Holy Week feeling the weight of desertion and shouldering a cross (literally - I danced the part of Jesus).

It's an experience I won't soon forget.

March 14, 2008

Five Years

Five years is a long time.

Lots can change in five years. One can finish high school or college in less than that. One can go from being an infant unable to hold up her own head to walking and running and writing her own name. One's family status can undergo many changes in five years.

Five years is a long time, but it's also really not that long.

Yet, it's the most I can think into the future right now. As I'm talking with churches and discerning where God is calling me post-seminary, I've been asking myself "Can I see myself in this particular community or that particular church for at least five years?" If I can answer "yes" to that question, I feel good about continuing in conversation with committees.

I was talking to one of my pastors about this question, and she said, "Emily, I hope your first call lasts longer than five years!"

It's not that I'm limiting my first call to only five years. It's just that I can't think in any larger terms. I haven't lived in a particular place longer than four years recently. I moved across the state for college, but that was only four years. I moved across the country for seminary, but that was only four years (plus one of the years was in a different state).

So for right now, the "five year question" remains on my mind.