It says I’m half-way through an M.Div, at
I e-mailed the Dean this afternoon. The pressure of not e-mailing him was getting to be more than I could stand. I told him I’m withdrawing from the program.
It also says in my profile – I have doubts. I’ve been a volunteer in the Anglican Church for over 20 years, at a pretty local level. There is much that’s wonderful. And it seems to me, there’s always a fight. There are fights in the parish, and everyone thinks the Rector should get involved. So they try to involve her. Or him. There are fights at the diocesan level; at the national church level; at the level of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
We don’t call them fights; there are more polite names for them.
I’ve also been employed, at the parish level, for 15 years. I started as a church secretary and wound up as the parish administrator. Well, the job changed while I was in it, and that was partly because of me. What that meant was, I got to watch a lot of the in-fighting in the parish close up. I’ve actually been the administrator, part-time, in two different parishes for the last year. In-fighting in both.
The nature of the job is, I know a lot of clergy. Some did their internships in my parish. I’d felt called to ordained priesthood for several years before I enrolled in school five years ago. Scared. I’ve been going part-time, so I’m half-way through a three-year program. Many of my classmates have graduated and are in parishes now. It’s much the same, in-fighting all over, seems to me.
There have been a lot of changes in my life in the last two years, some I engineered and some just happened. As a result, I changed. I stopped doing what I felt was necessary to maintain peace all the time, started setting boundaries. (I hate that phrase, but what else am I going to say?) Even more important, I started holding my boundaries. This past six or eight months, I’ve set the boundaries, and when someone violated them, I’ve walked away from the fight. That’s VERY powerful. And peaceful. I like not being in the fights, and I don’t want to be in any more.
This fall and winter, I've been doing my pre-internship placement. The parish is different than I’m used to. They expect a sermon based on a very literal interpretation of the Gospel for the day. I’m next scheduled to preach on Easter 3, Good Shepherd Sunday. I can’t preach on that gospel – I don’t believe Jesus is the only way for the sheep to enter the fold. On Good Friday, I was helping to say the Solemn Intercessions, one of which says something like, we pray that everyone, everywhere, hears the Gospel preached and comes to Jesus. I had to read that one, and I was silently apologizing to God for telling lies in church.
There are so many good things about the Anglican Church, its people. I haven’t left the church. And, I have come to recognize my gifts: I’d have been a good priest. But I’m not the same person I was when I started this process. I’ve prayed a lot, and discussed it with the person I go to for guidance. I no longer believe this is what God’s calling me to do – there’s a different path ahead of me. I haven’t told the parish priest who’s supervising my placement yet. I haven't told anyone in the church yet, except the Dean of the College. This is public, but it’s not that public – I’m not aware of anyone in the Diocese who reads the Chronicles.
So, at 52 years old, I’m becoming a university dropout. I let go of a burden when I wrote the Dean this afternoon. I’m trying to get ready to tell people in my life. So many people have been supportive, expressed such confidence and hope in me. This will disappoint some of them, and I would rather not do that, but I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing, and lying about it.
Thanks for listening, everyone. And thanks for the prayers you’ve been offering on behalf of my family and me.