Tuesday, August 01, 2006

SWF, 26, Seeks UM Ordination

No, not me. I'm 27, and (yippee!) ordained. But otherwise, I very much related to this article: "SWF, 26, Seeks UM Ordination", written by my friend from seminary for United Methodist Relay, the newsletter of the Greater New Jersey AC.

Here's an excerpt:
I cannot reminisce about Carter’s presidency, the days before “U” was added to “MYF,” or a time when polio was a threat to children in this country. Contrary to popular belief, I do not need others to remind me of these obvious truths. I grew up with color TV, barely remember the Reagan years, and started using a computer at age four. Even so, I still have a story. Just because my story is only 26 years long does not make it any smaller than 62 or 97 year stories.

There is a subtle, “What can you possibly offer beyond that textbook knowledge you’re so proud of?” floating in the air. Is this how we approach all young adults in the church? We as a denomination have not found a good place for these persons in their graduate or post-college years who still define “family” as family of origin.

I consistently feel welcomed in the church. Congregations seem to enjoy the novelty of a young woman titled Reverend. (I am one of 93 female local pastors under the age of thirty
in the world.) I have found people to be pleased to give me a place in the pulpit (whether or not I have any authority is another matter entirely). From my perch in the chancel I note the lack of twenty- or thirty-somethings in the pews. If young adults are not welcomed, what is to keep them from seeking extra-church agencies when answering God’s call to ministry?

(Karen's bio info: The Rev. Karen G. Puckett, M. Div., certified candidate and ordination-seeker, is assistant pastor at Mt. Fern Church, Randolph. She may be reached by e-mail at karengpuckett at yahoo dot com)

I relate to the sometimes uncomfortable place of being a young clergy person. Throughout my candidacy process, I constantly ran into places where the process clearly was meant for those who were second-career, and already serving churches as local pastors during candidacy. I run into people who ask if I have a family - I say yes, I have family that lives nearby, and they tell me: "No, I mean a family of your own." Oh. A tricky place to be sometimes.

Any other young clergy, single clergy, have stories to share?
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