A lot has happened since my last blog update, and I should be in a position now to update on a regular basis. I’ve had much to say, but had to let some of it simmer in my head for a bit so that I didn’t write out of anger.
The first big event is that I attended the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Dallas. I was a lay delegate from Nebraska, and it was my last thing I’ll ever do as a lay person in the United Methodist Church. I entered this conference with some high hopes for the leadership of our denomination. We were there to elect 3 new Bishops to serve the church. I was very hopeful that this would be the conference where our jurisdiction would finally elect an African-American female to be a Bishop. However, this did not happen. This conference was a struggle for me to be a part of. It was draining physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I don’t want to write every detail here, but the obvious part that sexism and racism played in this conference was very disheartening to me. I had a couple conversations with people from different conferences about how an African-American woman wouldn’t fit the culture of their conference. This one conversation put me over the edge and created a anger inside of me. How is this even a valid reason to prevent an election of a gifted leader to be Bishop, and how is something like that even have a place in the church? I became more and more disillusioned at this process as it went on. Just to set the record straight, I have attended this conference before and I was aware of it being overly political, but I still hoped that this time might be a little different. I left this conference more committed to social justice ministry within the church, and with a deeper understanding of my call to ministry. I also came away with new friends in the progressive movement in the church, so I suppose some helpful things did come about.
On to another event in my life recently, I began my first appointment on July 1. I am now serving 3 rural congregations near Lincoln, Nebraska, as an Associate Pastor. So far everything has gone smoothly, and I’m still feeling things out. It’s hard to get to know people when I am not preaching in the same church every week, but I’m starting to remember people now. I’m excited for the ministry that has gone on in this parish, and am hopeful for the future. I don’t plan on moving to a new appointment for 3 years, which is when I graduate, but I’ve learned that you can never be too sure of anything in this system.
I’ve also settled into my new apartment in Lincoln, and really enjoy living on my own know. I’ve established my residence here, and even got my new driver’s license this week. For the first time since I was 2 years old, I am not a resident of Wahoo, Nebraska.
I’m looking forward to getting back to Kansas City and seeing everyone at school. I’m sure we all have tons to talk about, and I’m ready to get back into the swing of classes.
Grace and Peace,