For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12
“How do you do it all?” people have asked me this question for nearly all of my adult life. As an artist, a mom, a wife, a daughter, and now a scholar, a pastor, a priest and a rector, people sometimes view me as an example of someone who is “doing it all.” While I am grateful for all the varied experiences and skills with which God has blessed me – and for which I’ve worked fairly rigorously – the truth is, I do not do it all by myself. I have, I need, I depend upon, lots and lots of help and collaboration.
Here at St. James, I’m so proud of our many Ministry Commissions – Worship, Social Justice, Communications, Pastoral Care, Hospitality, Administration & Finance, Stewardship and Development, Children and Youth, and Spiritual Life – and the many faithful ministers who work in them. As the apostle Paul very wisely observed in the formation of the earliest Church, “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” That is good to remember.
One area where I especially depend on a team of ministers is our Pastoral Care Commission. Co-facilitated by Tovi Harris, Lynn Johnson, and Vestry Member Kaylene Moon, this Commission includes the gifts of many: Peter Ostrander is our hospital chaplain; Debra Danioth is our Parish Nurse; Tom Zimmerman coordinates Eucharistic visits. As your priest, my gift is to bring Holy Sacraments, such as anointing, absolution and commendation, to parishioners in times of need. I’m also trained in pastoral counseling, and bring those skills to situations requiring special emotional support. At the same time, any member of our Commission is equipped to offer the ministry of presence whenever and wherever it is needed. This does not detract from my role as Rector, but rather, emphasizes our identity as One Body of Christ.
Over the coming months, Peter and I will be offering training to the Pastoral Care Commission in areas such as listening skills, family systems theory, end of life and self care for care givers. This last part is especially important for every minister, including me! Setting healthy boundaries and attending to self care are essential elements to becoming and remaining a healthy body of Christ.
As we begin plans for our activities in the 2016/17 calendar year, let us remember that no one can “do it all”. Let us – without anxiety or dissention – strive for the “greater gifts” that come from becoming a well functioning body. Together.
Yours in Christ,