Dear Fremont Family:
I just got back this afternoon from the annual Board of Ordained Ministry’s Candidacy Retreat. For two years now, I have been a “spiritual guide” to persons who are being examined by the Board for approval for ordination (or not!). It’s a very stressful time for those being examined. For several of the candidates, it has been as many as seven years of preparation, schooling, paper-writing, examinations, and practical service within the church, and it all comes down to these two days of interviews!
If the answer comes back as “yes” for them, then they will be ordained at this year’s Annual Conference in June. My role as “spiritual guide” was to accompany them through the 2-day interview process and create sacred space for them to breathe, debrief, regroup and recover from what they experienced in their interviews. Last year, the retreat was virtual, and the sacred space was being together with the candidates in a ZOOM room, but this year, we were back in person at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center.
I had the added joy this year of working with Rev. Dean Yamamoto as my partner in the role of spiritual guide. For those of you who don’t know, Rev. Yamamoto holds his Charge Conference at Fremont! He is one of us, even as he has been a long-time healthcare chaplain working outside of the local church. What a privilege it was to get to know Dean better and to share this sacred task with him.
This year, two of the candidates coming before the Board for Full Elder were two women who began their call to ministry when I was their District Superintendent back in 2016. It was a special joy to be with them again as they were coming full circle in the process. I am so incredibly proud of them and their accomplishments.
While I was at Collins, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own life of ministry. It wasn’t that long ago that I was being examined for ministry myself (okay, maybe it was. I was ordained a Full Elder in 2005!), but I still remember the experience vividly. My path of ministry since then has taken many twists and turns like a labyrinth (pictured above), and what joy it gave me to discover that the labyrinth at Collins is called the “Peace Path.”
Friends, we don’t always know where we are headed in life or where we will end up, but I believe that when we walk in trust with God, we are, indeed, walking the “peace path.”
See you Sunday!
Grace and peace,