For those who follow my blog, you might have noticed I am now the pastor of three congregations. For now, two of them are vacancy, while we see if this is possible. The last guy to take on those two plus another had to retire early because of health problems. Now, I have them plus my own parish which is larger than any of the original three were. It’s 134 miles end to end. It’s almost a hybrid between circuit riding and multi-point parishes. On the one hand, I manage to preach at all three each week. On the other hand, I’m only even in town at the dual parish 30 hours a week: Sunday noon to Monday about 4pm.
It’s working well so far, but then so far all I’ve done is preach and visit shut-ins. In the new year we’ll need to find ways to include instruction (at the very least, for catechumens), assistance in parish administration (that means going to meetings), and other details of parish life. Can it work? Good question. There are other places where it is happening, so it can work. But it isn’t being done anywhere else in my district because in the past, things got too difficult and the job took too much of a toll on the pastor.
I have some advantages they didn’t have: 80 mph speed limits, cell phones with mini-computers in them, my almost super-human ability to say “No”, etc. That may ease the burden somewhat, and increase the sense of pastoral presence, even in my absence.
But it can’t make it so I can be in two places at once. And at some point, I need to be where ministry is needed, in an ongoing way.
The three congregations have been super-supportive so far, but so far we’ve just done Divine Service. There is more than that to parish life. Moving into the new year, we find out if it works in the day-to-day life of the congregations. If it does, it will likely be copied as we move forward, because things are getting tight all over. If it doesn’t work, it will become cautionary tale: The guy who lost his mind trying to do ten impossible things before breakfast; don’t be like that guy.
Meanwhile, for those waiting for Catechetics, it is still on the way. Oddly, this may have hurried it’s arrival. I finished all my edits before Advent started because I knew I needed it pretty much off my desk before the tri-point began. The first half is being laid out while the second half gets copy-edited. Once that’s back (sometime in the next month or so), I will set a release date, and get the final details in place. It’s coming very soon.
But that means my blog has been neglected. I’ve had about a dozen posts flit through my mind in the last month. And I’ve only had time to post one or two of them. I haven’t even kept up on sermons like I wanted. But if there’s something that needs to give a little, the blog is pretty much it. For now, I’ll post when I can. Stay tuned for the release date announcement about Catechetics. It is coming, I promise. And thanks to all of you who have encouraged me, and especially to the select few who have donated over at my GoFundMe page. I could use a little more, if you want to toss in a few bucks, but between what has been given, and what I can afford to chip in on my own, I can now pay for the copy-edit. It’s coming, and DV, it won’t be much longer.