Oh the forms!!
It is September again. And in this season of my life that means that a paperwork blizzard has hit our kitchen counter! With two active elementary-aged children in our household, there is an avalanche of forms that need filling out in September of each year. There are forms for the gymnastics classes starting up again, Cub Scouts is having their kick-off, children’s choirs at church are organizing, and don’t get me started on the stack of pastel colored papers from the school!! We haven’t moved in the past year. Our phone numbers and email addresses haven’t changed. I am certain that all of these places actually already know all of the things I’ve just written down 14 times again for them. Can you believe I have to fill them out AGAIN this year??
I am filling out each and every blessed piece of paperwork. Again this year.
Do you want to know why?
It’s because my children’s education and activities are important to me. We have a high value in our household of learning and participating. I am grateful for and respect the teachers, administrators, school nurses, support staff, coaches, volunteers, etc. who spend time with my kids helping them to learn and grow into mature, contributing, wonderful human beings. And because I care deeply for their work as members of my tribe, raising my kids, I will fill out all the forms they ask of me so that they will have the easy resources they need, in the format they’ve designed, at their fingertips, while they do their sacred work.
And the truth is, I’m on the other side of this request every September also. I stand boldly in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in administration as the annual ministerial Information Review is emailed out to all of the pastors, active and retired, of our blessed Iowa Conference each September!
It is a requirement of standing for authorized buy effexor xr 150 mg ministers of all six of the associations of the Iowa Conference to return a completed Information Review every year. In August of 2014, we had 12 out of 360 on file in the Conference office.
In August of 2016 we had 168 out of 330.
168 is WAY better than 12. But it is still only 51%.
We can do better.
I value my vocation and calling deeply. I am honored and humbled to introduce myself as an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ as I meet people. I go to work and feel challenged and encouraged and motivated and inspired because I believe so deeply that our work has meaning and purpose. And I do so in and on behalf of the rest of our tribe to whom I am accountable. Thus, I turn in my annual Information Review every year, and ask my colleagues to do the same. To be honest, if our blessed UCC would allow me, I would use a stronger word than “ask.”
I turn in the forms to the school because I value the work they all do on behalf of my kids and my family.
I turn in my Information Review to the Conference office because I value the covenant of my ministerial standing and my profession.
To my Iowa UCC colleagues, I look forward to seeing the “Information Review completed” column filled in next to your name and knowing that I’ll be able to send you a birthday card this year or ask you about your latest Boundary Training class when I see you next. To the lay members of our UCC churches, ask your pastor if s/he has turned in this year’s Information Review. To everyone else, I’m sure next week’s eNews will be a much better read, please check back.
Blessings for the journey,
Associate Conference Minister