Saturday, May 10, 2008

Will preach for food ... no wait ... for the highest bidder!

I don't do unemployment very well. There ... it's out ... I feel better. ;-) There are folks who have raised unemployment to an art form - I'm even related to some of them. But I don't know how to do it very well. Guess that's the latent Lutheran, Scandinavian work ethic imbued in my DNA.

I made my resignation from Gathered by Christ official this week with a letter to my bishop. He's in hospital, but I copied all the folks who need to be "in the know." Best to make it clear to everyone involved that my call to serve Gathered by Christ is finished and to make room for the next call.

So I can't really call myself the "Virtual Vicar" anymore ... since I'm not technically a vicar of anything. The pope is the "vicar of Christ" ... not me. And does Christ really need a vicar?! Hmmm ... makes me wonder ... ah well, sorry about that ... brain sometimes goes off to the Bahamas for a minute!

Anyway, I'm now doing what we call "supply work" and it's kind of cool. I get to visit other churches while their clergy are on vacation and preside at worship. I go in, I preach the sermon, preside at the Eucharist, have some coffee and chat time with the locals, get a check and go home. As supply clergy I'm just there for the day gig so the members of the congregation are quite happy to see me come and have been very gracious and welcoming. I don't have to go to vestry meetings, get embroiled in any congregational controversy, make prophetic spiritual or moral demands on the members, or run a stewardship campaign. Nope, just preaching and liturgy and take it on the toe. It's a nice respite ... and I'm liking it. Of course, it won't sustain me financially (yeah, there's always a "down side" isn't there??). I need a call, but hopefully this will carry us through until something appropriate opens up for me.

Being a "supply clergyperson" sounded a bit boring and "unemployed priest" just wasn't doing anything for my sense of self and call. "Hired gun" was a bit too violent for a woman of the cloth. So I came up with "Mercenary Presbyter for Christ" ... a bit more joie d' vive and says it all, don't you think? :-D


Sarah Dylan Breuer said...

Welcome to the world of freelance preachers! Can't say it's a very lucrative trade, alas. I imagine it's easier if you can also consecrate, though. If you're really looking for gigs as a freelancer (and especially if you do retreats), it might be worth posting some sample sermons and a bit about the kinds of retreats and/or workshops, etc. you do. Best of luck with it!

Mercenary Presbyter for Christ said...

Yeah ... what a long strange trip it's been! Good point about retreats - Stu's spiritual director mentioned that too. I'm doing the Jr. DOK retreat for Province III in June and I'll be chaplain for Rainbow Camp in July. I figure right now, for summer, that will work out. We'll see what the fall holds. My guess is that with our "regime change" (new bishop), we might have some movements of the Spirit which are not yet apparent.