In late summer of 2007, I spent a sleepless night, excited about the possibilities I saw in a job posting for a church in the University District. I emailed my coworker, Meighan Pritchard, and asked her if this was the church she spoke so passionately about, and of which she was so fond. (Spoiler alert: it was.) The call to this ministry and this place was so strong and so clear, despite the fact that the advertised job was a one-year interim position. Rather than wait for the permanent position, I decided to take the risk and apply.
Thirteen years later, I write that I have been called to step away from my work here at University Congregational. The equation of my energy and time as a mother, wife, woman, and music director hasn’t added up for some time. About a year ago, I took a short leave of absence. The call I received in that time was just as clear, but I wasn’t quite ready to listen.
It’s hard to listen when you’ve been blessed with a job as meaningful as mine. I’ve said it’s the best job in the world and it is. I get to work in a place where we’ve shared birth and death, aging and growing. I get to work in a place where I’m a member, not just a staff member. I get to work in a place where I minister–and am ministered to–via meals, camping, Cheetos, conversation, practical jokes, soulful connection.
And music. Oh, how much music we’ve shared over so many years! 676 Sundays, over 600 choir anthems. Melodies that soar and harmonies that crack the heart open.
This weekend, many of us gathered in Ostrander Hall to celebrate and support our youth – leaders in our church who are pointing the way. I was reminded of a song they taught me a few years ago:
You call me out upon the waters
|And I will call upon your name|
And keep my eyes above the waves
(When oceans rise)
My soul will rest in your embrace
For I am yours and you are mine
After a short period of absence, I am hopeful I will return as a member of the church community as other program staff have done. As David Nichols said to me recently, I trust this is Godspeed and not goodbye.
My final Sunday will be Sunday, June 7, and all will be invited to attend the choir concert at UCUCC 4:00pm that afternoon. There will be opportunities to sing together as a congregation, and in Viriditas, which will be open to any treble voices. Until then, I’ll be working with church leadership to ensure a smooth transition.
I am yours and you are mine.