Today I am feeling very excited. It’s not because this is the week before Thanksgiving and we are hosting all of my family in our new house this year and it’s only the third time I have ever cooked a turkey! It’s not because I have a few days off coming up and hope to get a few things done I’m looking forward to. Or even that my husband and I are celebrating our 23 wedding anniversary this weekend. I’m excited because Sunday night we will finally have my District Superintendent Installation service. I’ve decided the phrase has some truth to it – “Second time’s the charm!” [Ok, to be accurate, the phrase is really “Third time’s the charm” and it implies that you failed the first two times. I don’t think I failed as DS the first time but roll with me here!]
While this won’t be my first DS Installation Service, it will be the first one that my knees aren’t knocking and my heartbeat isn’t racing. This time around I can truly enjoy the experience and what I’m most excited about is celebrating the wonderful Appalachian District and not focus so much on me. The first time I did this it felt like baptism by fire. I came into the position late – after our current bishop, Ken Carter was elected as Bishop and vacated his position on the Cabinet in August. By the time I took his place I had missed what they affectionately called DS Charm School (orientation). I had to learn from doing and by asking a million questions from wonderful colleagues like Amy Coles and Lyn Sorrells and so many others. In many ways, I had no idea what I was doing but my naiveté probably protected me from being overwhelmed.
This time around, I know a little more what to expect. I have the privilege of coming back to the same District I previously served for 3 years so there is familiarity with the geography and the churches. And I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know the pastors that have moved into the district since I have been gone. This time around my learning curve is less steep because of course, some things have changed. This time around, I have an even greater sensitivity to what pastors are experiencing during this crazy time of leading through covid because a few months ago, I was doing it myself. This time around, I have a fabulous staff to support me and we make a great team that genuinely enjoys working together. So yes, second time’s the charm. Most important lesson for me in all of this has been seeing God reaffirm the gifts and graces given to me that I had almost lost sight of. And I unashamedly admit that one of my spirtual gifts is administration and I don’t mind it. I don’t mind doing conflict resolution work. I love problem solving and dreaming with pastors and churches trying to faithfully be who God is calling them to be. I love strategically leading the district to further God’s Kingdom in the Appalachian District. Yes, I actually enjoy the work of a District Superintendent. Maybe I’m weird. Or maybe I’m just comfortable embracing how God equipped me to serve best. And I give thanks that God caught me in time to remind me of this before I stepped away from the church all together earlier this year.
So yes, I feel excited today reflecting on all that has happened in my life the past few months. And grateful. But more on that next week. If you want to watch the installation service it will be a live-streamed worship experience this Sunday, November 21 from 5-6:00 PM and here’s the link.
I wonder when you have experienced a second chance and recognized the sweetness of the experience the second time around. After all, our God is a God of grace and not just second chances, but third and fourth chances as well.
Grace and Peace,