Well, the first day of conference is always a time of endings and beginnings. We have the memorial service and recognize those saints who have gone on before us and surround us with the great cloud of witnesses that cheer us onward toward the prize that is eternity with Jesus.
We also have our commissioning service sending into ministry those who have, with the great efforts of friends, mentors and others, jumped through enough hoops to be barely recognized as real official ministers, even though that most of them have been in ministry already. I can make fun of them, because I are one of them. On Wednesday we have the ordination service in which they become real official people who are *special.* I too hope to become *special* next year.
Of course, I am making light of a serious thing, only because, well....it is kind of funny that we have to be 'probationary' (the new language calls us 'provisional' which I think sounds a bit more ominous) for three years. I understand the purpose behind this process, in fact, I believe it is a good thing. I think it is a good thing to check people out, see what you are getting yourself into. Of course, being in the middle of the process myself, I want to tell them "sure, you can trust me, just ordain me already." But, alas, I am a committed Methodist, and that just isn't the way it works.
In any event, the first day was good and I am looking forward to tomorrow. Apparently, it is "casual day" but the Bishop was certain to inform us that in no way should we look "like we are going to the beach." "It's dressy casual" he tells us. Of course, many people come like that everyday!
Blessings for your ministry whether it is ordained or commission, clergy or lay, regardless of our designation, we are all called to be ministers by our baptism. Thanks be to God.