Monday, May 14, 2007

Special Day

Yesterday was indeed a special day. In part because of the beautiful, cloudless sky. There were also the gifts both material and invaluable. There was the bringing together of several generations to celebrate the bond of family.

It was also the first time I got to vote.

For a minister.

We are members of a church that first gathered in 1638. The most recent minister retired two years ago and we have been on a journey to find our next one. It involves meetings, surveys, serious evaluation of how we behave as a spiritual community and the compiling of a binder that explains who we are. All of this is led by a search committee and they worked very hard to find the candidate who would lead us.

I remember when my childhood church called a minister in the 1970's. I was around my sons' ages now. The memory is still strong. Our minister was going to be a woman. It was splashed over the suburban town newspapers that she was to be the first woman to lead a church in our community. And since the majority of the town was Catholic, this was a big deal. There is a lot of talk now about not voting for women simply because they are women. I'm not advocating to vote along "gender lines". I'm telling a story of how the calling of a woman minister made me as a little girl so very proud.

This Sunday, I voted for the first time for a minister. And she too is the first woman to lead a faith community in this new town I call home. She spoke last week of finding happiness in frightening times. This past Sunday she spoke of embracing change and how we are all leaders in making that change happen.

Welcome Reverend.


Jodi said...

pretty church.

Alex Elliot said...

I gasped when I first started reading your post because I fell for the line about you never having voted before! I thought "surely that's not right!" I'm curious who your new minister is. We had a guest minister lead a service about a month or two ago. Rumor was she was being considered(I'm not sure of the right word since I'm a fairly new UU)for a church in MA. I guess it's common to have a candidate lead a service in another church, but it's supposed to be top secret. There were a lot of people who weren't members at the service.

soccer mom in denial said...

I think that is a wonderful tradition. UU churches will "loan" their pulpits to sister parishes so they can hear prospective candidates preach. We're all suppose to keep it a secret. My dad was on the search committee for his church a few years ago and asked to borrow our church pulpit. It was fun to "host" him and the committee and help with the lunch arrangements.

Jenn in Holland said...

What a wonderful process and a terrific result for your community.
I am so intrigued by the whole idea behind the search committee and the portfolio of who you are as a community. It seems like such a thorough way to "check each other out" and make sure the fit is comfortable.
I am thrilled for your end result.

Ambassador said...

Those kinds of decisions are out of our hands in the United Methodist Church, so when it was announced 4 years ago that our uptown New Orleans church would be getting its first female pastor, there were more than a few mutterings and murmurs of dissent.

No more. There could have been no one more suited (or called) to lead us through this tumultuous time in the months since Katrina. We may not have voted her in, but there was something that drew her here - both for us and her.

Now of course, we fear she'll be reassigned somewhere else. An unthinkable loss right now, especially after so many others.

Gunfighter said...


We just did the same thing last year.

Mrs Gunfighter was part of the selection panel, which we Lutherans, refer to as a "Call Committee".

The Committee met weekly and prepared the sort of binder you described.

This binder was submitted to the Bishop... blah, blah, blah, and then we vote.

It was a long process, but our new pastor started in January, and so far, everyone (well, ALMOST everyone) loves him.

I'm so glad for you and your congregation.

soccer mom in denial said...

AE - hmmmm... I wonder if you hosted our candidate!

JinH - thanks for the intrigue. I feel like being a UU is the right thing for me and my family. I don't believe it is perfect or will be the right fit for everyone. But it fits my view of the world and humanity.

Ambassador - oh how I hope she stays.

GF - that's so cool about the Lutherans. I didn't know you also called your minister! And I love that Mrs. GF was on the committee. Another reason to adore her.