Monday, June 1, 2015

Baby Steps of a Prodigal Daughter

Two weeks ago, I made the final decision to relinquish my Holy Orders from the Universal Anglican Church. This may have come as a surprise to many, though there are a handful of people who knew the struggle I was going through before I resigned. As a result of my resignation, St. Brigid in the Desert became a thing of the past.

While it’s a sad passing, it was the right thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love the UAC. I believe in what it stands for – the Inter-Spiritual way of doing religion is an important avenue toward creating a better world. I didn’t make my decision lightly. It came after months of prayer and discussion with those I’m closest to. As I wrote to Bishop Craig Berglund, it came with much “gnashing of teeth.”

My time as a priest in the UAC has afforded me the opportunity to perform weddings and other rites of passage, as well as to undergo a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. These have been wonderful experiences, and I hope that the work done through St. Brigid in the Desert was a blessing for everyone involved. However, I found myself experiencing a deep sense of loss at my continued disconnection from the United Methodist Church. In fact, I must give the Universal Anglican Church and its leadership credit, for it was through my ministry with them that I discovered the mistakes I had made when I so quickly ran from my call to ministry with the UMC.

For that’s what I did. I ran. I ran out of embarrassment for mistakes that I made, for some poor decisions that ended up rolling into more poor decisions. It’s not a story that needs to be retold; suffice it to say that after the gift of being a UAC Priest for a year and a half, I realized that my greatest sin was that of pride. I made mistakes, and rather than hold my chin up and move forward into learning from them, I ran away.

In the two years plus that I was away, I have had the joy of representing a church that was founded to meet the needs of many who have been excluded in the past. I have been given the gift of performing wedding ceremonies that recognized the God beyond religion. I have had the opportunity to sit with a handful of individuals and worship God in unique and wonderful ways. However, I have felt the discontent of one who has not been able to fully answer the call to ministry. It is with that discontent that I have wrestled for a long while now, and it was the realization that I did not have the vehicle for answering that call more fully that started me on the path back to the United Methodist Church.

I give thanks to God that through my friend and fellow seminary student Sonsiris, I found the UAC in my hour of need. I give thanks to God that my home congregation at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church has accepted me back as a member.

It will be a year before I know if I will be accepted back to the certification process toward commissioning and ordination. This time, I will use that year to pay better attention, to learn humility, and to prepare myself better. This time, I will remember: there is no rush, there is no hurry; I will be who God is calling me to be in God’s own time. In fact, each day, I am who God made me. What God and I do with that will happen in baby steps, day by day.

Roses from my yard; the scent is a lovely reminder of God's Love.

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