Friday, July 01, 2011

becoming a district superintendent

So we moved most of our stuff a week or so ago and traveled to Ferrum College in Virginia, via Charlotte, to learn about teaching in our annual conference's UMW School of Christian Mission. It was three days of learning and meeting a number of very compassionate and committed people. I will lead our conference's spiritual growth study of "Reconciliation, Forgiveness and Restorative Justice". The texts are profound----Jacob's wrestling through the night until the break of day, the lamentations at the foot of the cross, the parable of the Prodigal Son, and Paul's reflection on 2 Corinthians 5 on the New Creation.

We then drove directly back to Lake Junaluska, and I made a visit that afternoon (Tuesday) to a new pastor and his family in our district; I made the latest one a few hours ago (I am writing on Friday). In between I have been getting my office into shape, meeting with a few pastors in the district who have come through, scheduling a few visits for next week, and continuing the process of transforming our cabin, where we will be living, from a weekend getaway into an actual home. It is mostly a process of pruning, purging, thinning out, whatever you want to call it. Waynesville has a great recycling center, so I have been taking things there, and Providence UMC and Lake Junaluska have yard sales this summer, so others may find some use for our surplus. I have been reading posts on Lifehacker and Zen Habits about simplifying life, and for us it has become a necessity. In the midst of it we have had meals on two evenings with friends who live in this area, and I imagine that will continue.

The transition began in earnest when I turned in my cell phone in Charlotte last Friday and learned to live without one for a few days. I just got connected again with a new smart phone yesterday, although I confess I am still learning how to use it. My wife and daughters did get me an iPad for father's day, and I think I am going to organize things as follows: phone calls, church and conference email on the smart phone, and facebook, personal gmail and music on the iPad. Technology is complex, but at the same time it gives me access to people (and them to me) and it connects me with resources (like music and podcasts) that I will listen to while driving through this region. The IT staff person from our conference, Chris, was extraordinarily helpful.

I am still in the midst of contacting new pastors to the district. We are heading into the July 4th weekend, which is always a blast (sorry) around Junaluska. There is a parade that is so tacky that it is funny, culminating in a barbecue picnic with bluegrass music. Later that night there are fireworks; we have often grilled food with friends and found a place on the lake where the sights and sounds are pretty spectacular.

Some have commented that a District Superintendent does not have to go looking for work; it has a way of finding you, and that may be true. I will learning how to balance the role of administrator and spiritual encourager. I feel very blessed to be in a district rich with resources (Lake Junaluska Assembly, Hinton Rural Life Center, Foundation for Evangelism, World Methodist Council), composed of very strong churches and dedicated pastors, and situated in a mountain region that attracts pilgrims of all kinds seeking renewal. I am hopeful that I can be of help in the renewal of the churches and clergy in this region, and my prayer is that I will find it be a calling that is renewing to me as well.


Blogger Talbot Davis said...

We miss you in Charlotte but knowing your demeanor and wisdom, I think you will be a good DS indeed.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

A (tacky) parade is good for the soul, as it stirs simple joy and silly fun. :-) Enjoy! Welcome to the Waynesville District. We are glad that you are here.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

Hi Ken,
Now that you are in your new job, I realize we need new contact info for you here at Upper Room Books. Please e-mail me @ Thanks so much!
Jeannie Crawford-Lee

10:10 AM  

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