It’s been a few days, six to be exact and I thought it may be good to get a blog post out there, just so that I can have a record of the bizarre way things went down last Thursday.
For those that don’t know or haven’t figured it out if you’re on my Facebook page, last Thursday two representatives from the SPRC came in and told me that there was just not a good fit with PUMC. This information, while not necessarily rocket science to figure out, came out of the blue and with the added bonus of not working at PUMC any more. There were a few interesting things that surrounded the announcement. I was in the final stages of prep for the Christmas Pageant, had just had what I had thought was a great staff meeting Tuesday, and a fine day at work on Wednesday. Couple that with the fact that the pastor was out of town and chose not to tell me that she was not really happy with the direction things were going, and the fact that the Parish Administrator had no idea this was coming made it all the more surreal.
Here’s the thing, a couple months ago at what I would say was my six month review the SPRC stated that they were happy with the direction of things, they gave me a list of things that they would like to see happen and that they wanted me to make sure happened, in cleaning out my office I found the list and went down it… all the things that they asked for were done.
I told them that given the circumstances I needed to be candid with them, I explained that over the last few months I had been banging my head against the wall, I told them that while it sounded good to want things to change, and that moving forward with new ways of doing things were the right things to say, the church didn’t really seem to be ready for things to be different, finally I told them that if and when they decided to hire someone else, they needed to not hire a man.
The thing is I found myself compromising a lot of who I am. I found myself changing how I talk, how I act, and how I write. I will be the first to admit that mechanically I have challenges with writing. Anyone who reads the blog knows, and if you don’t I can tell you my wife the English teacher is constantly telling me that I seem to be afraid of commas, and I also can write some of the longest sentences in the world. Having said that I have never used the word honor more when describing my actions when it comes to other people than I did when at PUMC. I was trying to honor everything and everyone.
The most interesting thing in all of this is I’m really not all that upset. I was beginning to question a lot of things personally when it came to things at PUMC. I was beginning to see that the whole situation had the potential to come to my exit after Christmas anyway. So I’m not mad, I’m not bitter, I’m not even worried. I am sad for the students and the new teachers that were identified, I’m sad for the couple of friends that I made, but I’m not sad to be out of a place that I had come to dread going too.
I think I can pin point when it began to go south. A question was asked prior to a staff meeting, it went something like this; “What one thing does your church do, that makes it a shining beacon of welcome in your community, that makes people take notice and say this is what PUMC is all about and what they do well?” I answered honestly, I said I had no clue. After being at a church for 10 months, for me to not know that answer was telling, to me as well as to the pastor of the church.
There were other personality conflicts and all that stuff that happens no matter where you are? I just know that this is not the end, in fact I’m fairly certain that this is the beginning of God doing something new, taking us to someplace that is fit for our family and for that church.
I have always believed that God allows things in our lives to strengthen us, and to prepare us for something that is truly a collaboration. A God and us coming together to do what will ultimately be the best thing for His glory and for our good, even if I can’t see it, or understand it, or even make sense of it. There is a reason.
Solomon said it best, “to everything there is a season.’” the best thing about seasons is that they each bring with them something special, something that can only happen during that time. I wonder when things are finally said and done and the Newell’s are where they are being led, what we are going to be able to use from this time of our lives.