So, several things worth mentioning today:
1. The church's annual meeting. I got myself ready for a knockdown, dragout fight. Ever since the church went out on a limb a couple of years ago, and took out a loan to buy some adjoining property and the daycare that was on that property, and became a large sum of money in debt, there has been a group of people within the church that have wanted to cut the budget like crazy so that we can get out of debt as quickly as possible. They've wanted to get rid of the youth director position, they've wanted to get rid of the intern pastor position, they've wanted to get rid of the daycare, anything to cut costs and get out of debt. And the daycare has been an issue of much discussion in council meetings and the issue of the church budget ALWAYS gets reactions from people. So, since the annual meeting was where the budget for this year would be voted on, I was expecting a big discussion. They were also voting whether or not to continue the internship program after I finish my year here. So everything was going smoothly, and then it came time to approve the added $14,700 it costs to fund an intern. One woman in the congregation raised her hand and asked if this was something we were going to continue, or if we should get rid of it because of financial issues. The council president, God bless her, says, "Well, we vote on it every year and it's been passed every year." And the woman says "I understand that, but I was just wondering whether or not we were going to continue." And then someone said, basically, that that was what this vote was about. To decide if we should continue, or not. So a man in the congregation raised his hand and said that as he understood it the budget for this year is in the black, even with the intern program figured in. And the president said yes, that was true. The man then asked that even if we approved the internship program for next year, the seminary might not pick us as a site. Then supervising pastor said that the seminary is in dire need of internship sites for next year. And our church has the reputation of being a good site. So I raised my hand and said "Can I add something?" and the pastor and president both said "Of course!" Then everyone in the congregation turned and looked at me (I was standing in the back). So I said that when I found out where I was going for my internship, I had two professors come up to me. One said I was getting one of the best supervisors, and the other said I was getting one of the best sites. And I thought it would be a shame to share neither of those with another intern next year. People clapped. Then they voted, and they're getting another intern next year. Talking with my pastor later, I said that I should have told them that they should agree to get an intern because no matter who they get next year, the person is guaranteed to be better than me. My pastor said I shouldn't set up such expectations that the person following me would have trouble meeting. I think it was a compliment. I'm not sure.... Anyway, back to the annual meeting, the church council treasurer did such a good job presenting the budget that there was no discussion. The big discussion point would have been the internship program, but since they passed that first, it was a non-issue when it came to the budget. And this is the first time in a long time that the budget for the year has been in the black. So who can argue with that?
2. The funeral. It went pretty well. It was basically just the family, and then a few others. Overall, like 18-20 people at the funeral, and 10 of those were family. I led the service and preached my sermon, and then we went out to the cemetery. I didn't think I did a stellar job, but I thought I did okay. A member from the congregation who happened to be a pall bearer told me I did a good job, but I think he knew it was my first funeral so he was being supportive. Well, fast forward to Sunday afternoon, I came home from church, changed clothes and ran to the store to get some things I needed. Come home and there is a message on my answering machine. It is supervising pastor and he's telling me I have another funeral this coming week. It's the husband of the woman whose funeral I just did... And the family has requested me to do the funeral. So I guess I must have done a pretty good job, if they're wanting me back...
3. I'm some sort of youth guru. After the annual meeting I had a couple parents come up to me, and they hand me this letter they got from the high school. It's a behavior report for their son, who seems to be disrespectful and disruptive in class. They wondered if I had any ideas. Okay, so I was a bit flabbergasted. Most often I am accused of acting like a high schooler, not being asked for advice on how to handle one...!!! I had no idea what to tell these parents, but they said that since I've been here they've seen a major turn around in their daughter, how she seems less depressed and not hanging out with the wrong crowd so much, and when she gets back from Sunday night Bible studies she just jabbers and jabbers, which is something she hasn't done for a while. So they want to see if I can help with their son now. Sort of honored, that people see me that way at church, really flabbergasted that people see me that way at church, and totally clueless as to what to do/tell the parents.