Making Her Breathe
Even though I trained in a local iteration of the Iona Collaborative, I am the first person on a priest track to be ordained in my diocese via this formation method. This means that I don’t regularly run into either multi-vocational clergy, or locally trained individuals.
As soon as I was offered the opportunity to attend a Gathering in person I knew the multi-vocational (formerly bi-vocational, but I’ll talk about that in a minute) Gathering was the one for me. What a gift it was to be sequestered at the lovely Oblate Renewal Center in San Antonio with people who speak my specific language.
My language, our shared language, is the language of many plates spinning in the air at the same time. But only some of those plates are ministry focused, because most of us have other jobs we do too. We learned then, that we have more than two vocations, as “bi-vocational” suggests, we are a people of many, or “multi” vocations. We had the cattle rancher and organist and priest, the deacon who also serves a large homeless services organization, the mom who brought her baby to the Gathering, who is a deacon and also a nurse, and the veterinarian who somehow finds time to bring people together for shared meals at the parish he serves.
I realized, as I sat with these folks, that the future of the church was in that room. As the numbers in all organized religions continues to shrink, as more parishes close and even fewer can afford a full time clergy person, here were these wonderful people, called by God, ordained by the church to serve in the very specific and yet wide ranging ways in which they have been gifted.
There’s a common misconception about part time clergy, especially about locally formed clergy. It’s the idea that we sort of phoned in for our training, that we weren’t willing to give up enough to move away and live for three years at a residential seminary, even that we are not as equipped as we should be. The reality is that the church needs more ways to form leaders, and that these leaders are fully equipped, capable, and passionate about the work of the kingdom here on earth.
As multi-vocational clergy we discovered that we are not waiting for the church to die, we are the breath that is making her live.
– Alicia Communication & Community Curator, The Gathering of Leaders
Read the October but accidentally named September Enews here.