Monday, June 9, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me

Happy Anniversary to me!  Happy Anniversary to me.  Happy Anniversary to meeeee.  Happy Anniversary to me.  (Sung to the tune of Happy Birthday)

Today is the eighteenth anniversary of my ordination.  To be technical, it's the eighteenth anniversary of my ordination as a deacon.  In our church, as in others, a priest must first be ordained as a deacon and serve for at least six months before going on to the priesthood.

It's a funny journey toward ordination.  Before you're ever ordained, you've spent at least three years studying and preaching.  Three years in seminary of learning pastoral care, the nuances of scriptural interpretation, biblical languages (no Latin for us - we prefer Hebrew and Greek), canon law, liturgics -- all that fun stuff.  About the only thing they don't teach you is how to run a parish.

Every denomination prepares its pastors differently, but in ours candidates for ordination are generally required to have a Masters degree before entering seminary.  Mine was in German and education.  In some denominations, they spend many more years in seminary than our paltry three, and that might be better.  I kind of wish we'd had at least one more year teaching us how to deal with budgets, broken pipes, insurance companies and committees. 

After eighteen years of ordained ministry, I still lose the most sleep over buildings and grounds issues.  Go figure.

I plan on celebrating by not going in to work today -- well, Monday's my day off anyway.  So, maybe I'll go to the ice rink and skate for awhile.  But I'll also thank God for the opportunity to touch a few lives in a world where to make a big difference starts one life at a time.