Since I last posted in September of 2013, a few things have occured in the Seelsorger's life:
- I received, deliberated and turned down a call to a larger parish to the west around November to serve as the senior/administrative pastor. It was a congregation of over 1,000 with a school, a ministry I had known from my previous call in Michigan. Amazingly (at least to me!) this was the only real call I had received in 13 years. Fewer congregations are probably extending calls these days, due in part, I suspect, to the economic realities of the times. Then there is the issue of age (I am over 50). At any rate, I have no regrets over my decision and have continued to enjoy the mistry opportunities here east of Antigo.
- At the end of January I 'jump-started' my thesis research by taking a whole weekend to work at the library at Nashotah House. It helped immensely. Although my work was again stalled by various other duties, I have once again been able to make some headway and now have part 1 of chapter 1 complete in draft form. I hope to have the entire thesis written in draft form by the first of the year, with graduation in May of 2015. Stay tuned! (For those unfamiliar with my graduate studies, I have posts here, here, here, here, here, here, and here chronicling my experience with the STM graduate degree program at Nashotah House going back to 2010. The second-to-last "here" outlines the thesis proposal I submitted last Spring.)
- In February of 2014 the Town of Antigo Volunteer Fire Department presented me with my 10 year Certificate of Service Award. It's hard to believe it's been that long. I started as a chaplain and then in 2008 expanded my training to become an actual firefighter. Fire work has been a great experience, and I still enjoy the varied opportunities to grow and learn. My goal now is to learn and somewhat master the operation of the pump equipment on the engine.
- This summer provided a number of great opportunties for growth and pushed me to do things outside my previous experience. In January my classmate Pastor Peter Bender graciously extended an invitation to present at his Annual Symposium on Catechesis in June. You can read more here. While I felt a bit 'out of my leaque' with the other presenters, I also discovered that I enjoyed the challenge and would like to do something like this again in the future. In July I accompanied my daughter to the Higher Things youth conference at Concordia University- Wisconsin in Mequon. While there I did a couple of sectionals on the topic of "The Fault in Our Stars or the Fault in our God: Wrestling with the Will of the Almighty." You can read more about the sectional here. This sectional also presented me with the opportunity a few weeks back for an interview with Pastor Todd Wilken on Issues, Etc. If you would like to listen to the interview, which dealt primarily with the popular book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, you can listen to the archived section here.