Archive for May, 2010

Love note to my five-year-old

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Zag, our Zag -

As of a few days ago, you’ve been in our lives for five full years. You’ve made us into parents –  from those first astonishing panicky hours when we suddenly had responsibility for this fragile pink demanding little creature, to the day-to-day ebb and flow of parenting your preschooler self – sorting Playmobil together, arguing over brushing your teeth, negotiating snacks vs. candy, reading before bed. I can neither remember or imagine life without you, life before you. What on earth did we do to keep ourselves busy?

I want to write something about what you’re like at this age, but it’s hard to capture you in words. You are bright and imaginative and lively and always off on some mental track or another. (more…)

I have to post this somewhere or my head will explode.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

I share responsibility, with some other folks, for coordinating youth and young adult ministries in our diocese. I fell into this by making the mistake of having opinions about youth ministry. Like, It should exist.

The youth & young adult ministry umbrella includes campus ministries, since college students are either youth or young adults (exactly which may have to be decided on a case-by-case basis).

About six weeks ago, a panicked priest who does campus ministry stuff contacted me (for lack of anyone more knowledgeable to contact) to see how she was supposed to get her annual funding for her ministry from the diocese. Our 2010 budget included some amount of money to continue supporting several existing Episcopal or ecumemical campus ministries around the state, and there was no clear process in place for disbursing those funds. In conversation with our diocesan CFO, who is a very good soul, and with the person who did campus ministry stuff for the diocese until his position got defunded, also a very good soul, I managed to put together a letter and a rough application process and get it out to the people associated with those ministries. In the course of this process, I learned how many campus ministries we have and who runs them or works with them. I still don’t have all the campuses and people straight in my head, but thanks to the CFO, at least I’ve heard of them all. Let me stress: I knew nothing about all of this until someone from diocesan headquarters filled me in.

So why, exactly, did I just have to spend fifteen minutes on the phone with the administrator at diocesan headquarters, strenuously arguing (in the face of some opposition) a) that campus ministries DO exist in this diocese, and b) that they should be represented on the new diocesan website? Why, o why, o why?

(Part of why is that the CFO is out of town. But I find it pretty disturbing that apparently nobody else at HQ knows about these ministries which do, in fact, exist, and are, in fact, supported – at least a little – by our annual budget.)

This is a good diocese in lots of ways & I’ll be sorry to leave it. But this just seems like the latest installment in their really remarkable corporate short-sightedness regarding ministry for and with young people.

Are you a good witch, or a really good witch?

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

I’m reading A Hat Full of Sky, one of Terry Pratchett’s young adult series about the young witch Tiffany Aching. I just read a passage in which Tiffany is trying to describe her grandmother to the witch who is training Tiffany. That witch, Miss Level, observes that Granny Aching sounds like a good witch, and asks if she helped people. Tiffany thinks about it, then answers, “She made them help one another. She made them help themselves.”

Miss Level is silent a moment, then sighs. “Not many of us are that good,” she says. “If I was that good, we wouldn’t be going to visit old Mr. Weavall again today.”

This is why I love Terry Pratchett. His books are fun and funny and peculiar and surprising, but what wins my loyalty and love is the dash of keen insight he tosses in here and there, almost incidentally. Right here, in that little exchange, he has nailed pastoral leadership.

If you’re a good priest, you help people. If you’re a really good priest, you get them to help each other, and to help themselves.

Just like Granny Aching. Or, well, Jesus.

This post is dedicated to my friend Jen, who was ordained to the priesthood yesterday! May we both manage to be really good witches, friend.


Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Tomorrow I go back to work after a week-long vacation. It was Zag’s vacation week, and I have lots of vacation to use up (my clock resets in July), so I just took the week off. We undertook a few minor expeditions – the gardens of a local stately home; fabric shops in a nearby city; a trip back to Cambridge to brunch with the Bean’s godmamas. Mostly, though, we just bummed around the house. Craft projects, playdates, walks in the woods, snuggles, elaborate meals. Many small bouts of sorting – we are planning for a garage sale soon and it’s amazing how I’m suddenly looking around my home thinking, “What do I not need, that somebody might pay  me $.50 for?…”

I was a little worried that a vacation spent right here in our home sweet home would not feel sufficiently vacation-y. Turns out it was splendid. (more…)