In May of 2005, I took a weekend off from my job in Boulder, CO, to drive to Grand Junction for a retreat with all the other Inquirers and Candidates from my home Presbytery [Note for non-Presbyterians: “Inquiry” and “candidacy” are the two stages of preparation on the way to ordination in the PC(USA)]. I had become an Inquirer earlier that year, formally entering the ordination process. A couple months later, Eileen and I got married, left Boulder, and moved to Pennsylvania for me to start attending PTS.
Though I’ve heard horror stories about the candidacy process from friends in other presbyteries, mine has been pure joy. The Presbytery of Western Colorado is so small that it feels like a family. These retreats are always life-giving and refreshing, and we’ve even had the joy of having two up in the mountains in Ouray, CO. I’m particularly grateful for the encouragement that Tom Hansen and Mary Hammond Atkinson have given me, as well as the entire community of my home church, Delta Presbyterian, and their pastor Bill Forbes. I’ve also been grateful to make friends like Russell and other young Presbyterians with a heart for renewing the church.
Tomorrow I’ll head home for my fourth Inquirers and Candidates Retreat with my Committee on Preparation for Ministry. The journey that began three years ago is now coming to a close, as I prepare to graduate next week. Interestingly, this weekend we’ll be back at Monument Presbyterian Church – a new church development which hosted that first retreat I attended in 2005. (Perhaps that should have been a clue that God would call me into church-planting.) When I attended that first retreat in 2005, I remember being nervous about all the unknowns in the future – where we’d live, what school would be like, what married life would be like, how we’d fare financially – but I remember being reassured at that retreat that God was faithful and would take care of us. So here we are again, with many unknowns about the future, and God is using my memories of my presbytery’s care for me to remind me of his faithfulness and provision. And I am grateful.
“Those who trust in The Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.” (Psalm 125:1)