It is Monday afternoon, January 2nd, and for most of the day thus far, I have been working to update my online presence to reflect my new "freelance" status. It's amazing how much more work this entails than it did after my last major professional change 3 years ago. I hope that the year ahead will include many more opportunities to update my profiles, statuses, tweets, resume, and everything else.
I wrote earlier a bit earlier about my decision to leave my position as co-pastor of United Presbyterian Church. After a month and a half navigating through that transition, I am now on the other side, feeling very positive about the present and future. Many have asked me what is on the horizon, and though much of that remains to be seen, here are a few highlights. This Wednesday I will be serving as a convener for the Academy of Preachers National Preaching Festival in Louisville. The AoP is a multi-denominational organization that seeks to "identify, network, inspire, and support" young preachers (ages 14-28). I had the great pleasure of working with members of the Young Preacher Leadership Team last July when I was a preaching coach for their preaching "boot camp." I am really looking forward to being inspired and challenged! If you are in the Louisville area and can steal away for a morning or afternoon, please join us at the Seelbach Hotel.
I am gearing up for big planning meetings in the next couple of weeks as I chair a task force to write a new manual of operations for the Presbytery of Transylvania. As we think about our particular call for being church together here in central and eastern Kentucky, we are hoping to take advantage of the new flexibility afforded by the new Form of Government. If you are working on similar projects or know of others who are looking at similar questions, please let me know - I would love to connect.
I continue to serve as a member of the Committee on Ministry, and I have church visits to make and Session records to read! On Sunday, January 15th, I will be supply preaching at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church in Lexington, which is one of the churches to which I am COM liaison. I had the pleasure - and it was my pleasure! - to share dinner and fellowship with the Session at Pastor Scott Cervas' house at the end of December, and I look forward to filling the pulpit there as Scott is at Camp Burnamwood leading their youth retreat. I hope to be engaged in pulpit supply regularly, perhaps even as a stated supply if the opportunity arises.
For the past year I have also been serving as a member of the General Assembly Special Committee to Study the Nature of the Church in the 21st Century, and over the past few months I have been working as part of the writing team to draft our paper. I volunteered to work with Carol Howard Merritt, our very gifted committee moderator, to edit the paper. The committee has a final face to face meeting at the beginning of February, so the next few weeks will be full as Carol and I work together to bring a near-final draft to the group. We will have to turn in our final product by the end of February so that everything can be prepared and assigned for General Assembly, which will meet in Pittsburgh in July.
Interspersed between committee meetings and projects, in the next few weeks I will also gather with my Company of New Pastors cohort group and an annual study/collegial group comprised of dear Seminary classmates, both of which I am eagerly anticipating. Add to that cleanup from Christmas, various projects around the house that I have been putting off, stacks of books on my reading list, and other resolutions (which I will not call "New Year's Resolutions"), I will not be bored! I also have a few irons in the fire in terms of contract work - writing and/or consulting projects. If you know of opportunities, keep me in mind. I hope 2012 is off to a great start for all. Happy New Year!