Advent is upon us, with Christmas just around the corner, and that means new things are unfolding. First, in this Advent Season we take up the theme of “Playing Hide ‘N’ Seek with God.” The question we will be posing—as we await what Titus calls “the grace of God appearing” in the babe in the manger—is: Where in life does it feel like God is absent or hiding? And, where do we find God revealed, just when we thought he was far away? This is the very real experience of Christians throughout the church’s history—from St. Paul with his thorn in his flesh, to St. John of the Cross’s “dark night of the soul,” to Mother Teresa’s quest to find God in the face of the poorest of the poor in India.
I hope that you will come along on this Advent journey—in which we discover that the God we thought was far away, has been born right into our midst.
And in Other Important News…
As many of you know, our own Matt Byrd, Intergenerational Minister extraordinaire, is also a candidate for ordained ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
So far, that preparation has involved Matt doing on-line courses while being employed full-time here at Calvary. He has also taken two weeks both in January and in June of the past two years to do on-campus classes as Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. In the Fall of 2015, Matt Byrd will be on internship as a candidate for ordained ministry. His candidacy committee has yet to decide whether Matt can properly develop in his pastoral identity by serving his internship at Calvary.
That being the case—regardless of whether Matt is able to serve his internship at Calvary or will need to serve elsewhere—Calvary needs to have a plan for staffing next Fall. In early December, the Management Team will propose to the Council the possibility of staffing this upcoming year by employing an Intern Pastor. Interns are pastors in training. They are candidates for Word and Sacrament ministry—learning to preach and preside in worship, teach, administrate, visit people in hospital and at home, and engage in the various other ministries in the congregation’s life. Interns are not yet licensed to preside at the Lord’s Supper, but have been trained theologically and practically to begin to assume the responsibilities of a pastor.
What responsibilities come with hosting an Intern? Hosting an Intern is not only about having a capable lay leader working with the congregation and staff. It is also about making Calvary a fertile learning environment where a student of theology can begin to put her/his seminary instruction into practice. Internship congregations are expected to provide an Internship Committee that regularly supports, encourages, and oversees the ministry of the Intern. That committee works in tandem with the congregation’s ordained pastor (that’s me) to supervise the Intern’s growth as a minister. And even before the intern arrives, the council and pastor will need to intentionally develop an effective Internship Committee that is ready to guide the Intern effectively.
Timeline.… The timeline for preparing to be an Internship Site will further give you a sense of preparations that will be required of Calvary—should the congregation choose to move forward with this proposal: 1) January 31, 2015: Final day for congregation to apply to Luther Seminary to become an Internship Site; 2) February 16 to March 6, Internship Supervisors hold Placement Interviews with potential candidates, 3) mid-April, placement is completed and the congregation is notified of who their intern will be.
Financial considerations…. Every congregation who hosts an Intern is expected to pay that person a monthly stipend; provide adequate housing and health insurance; reimburse various work expenses; and cover other related administration fees. All told, the Internship cost will amount to no more than what we have budgeted for the Intergenerational Minister’s package.
Reconfiguring the role of Intergenerational Minister. This brings me to the most complicated issue about hosting an Intern. If, on December 9, the Council decides to recommend that we become an Internship Site and, if, on January 25, the Congregation votes to approve this proposal at our Annual Meeting, then in September 2015 Calvary will experience a serious transition in its Intergenerational Ministry. Either we will shape the Internship position to reflect our Long-Range Plan priority to serve families and young adults, or we will reconfigure my responsibilities and
develop the Intern’s list of responsibilities to accommodate the priorities we have for Intergenerational Ministry. Until we get further into the Internship Process, and consult with the Seminary, we will not know which of these options will be preferable or possible.
I know this is a lot of information to take in at once, so please consider participating in the following activities in response to this proposal:
- Pray for Matt and Calvary as we adjust to the reality of this inevitable transition, and commend both into Christ’s care.
- Pray some more: Pray before and on the day of December 9, as the Council deliberates about the possibility
of hosting an Intern.
- Participate in the December 21 Adult Forum (10:15 A.M.), at which we will lay out all the details together.
Be ready to ask questions, based on what you have already read.
- Be thoughtful and prayerful about how you can continue to support our Intergenerational Ministry at Calvary.
- Attend and participate in the Annual Meeting on January 25, at which time we make several important decisions about our future ministries.
Thank you for your love for Christ, your support of the staff who serves you, and your care for the ministry that we do at Calvary.
Your partner in ministry and faith,
Pastor Lori A. Cornell