Thursday, September 24 2020 by Matt Horan
Florida’s 2020 Annual Conference was different than usual this year. Normally there would be a thousand people gathering in Lakeland to conduct the business of the conference, but this year it was done online due to the Coronavirus.
One element of Annual Conference is the Service of Licensing, Commissioning, and Ordination. During this service, new clergy are licensed for pastoral ministry after being evaluated by their District Committee on Ordained Ministry. I remember leaving mine in 2007 with Susan sitting in the passenger seat of our car.
Susan: “So you’re Reverend Matt Horan now?”
Me [nodding proudly]: “That’s right.”
Susan [reflectively to herself]: “Reverend Matt Horan.”
Me [after a pause]: “It’s hard for you to take me that seriously, I guess?”
Susan: “It really is.”
There’s a good deal of pomp and circumstance in the service, with all the clergy of the conference robed up and processing into the room to participate in welcoming these new colleagues to the clergy community. Many were disappointed that the Coronavirus pandemic prevented the service from happening, but there was one “robe-averse” member of the newest class of licensed clergy that didn’t seem to lose a lot of sleep over it. cat=-79
Thursday, September 24 2020 by Matt Horan
So pastors are supposed to take one week per year, and four weeks every four years, for a time of spiritual retreat and renewal. For my first 13 years of pastoral ministry, I said, “Nah… I don’t need that.” However, feeling somewhat spiritually weary near the end of the summer, I decided to finally give it a try.
Now I get it. I had no idea I needed such a season until I tried it. cat=-79
Saturday, August 22 2020 by Matt Horan
I just finished reading a book called “Didn’t See it Coming,” by Carey Nieuwhof. It’s about his experience of a total burnout while serving as a pastor several years ago. Unfortunately, some of the warning signs he describes include several that I can identify in my own experience recently!
The United Methodist Book of Discipline makes available a couple different opportunities for pastors to take a leave for renewal and continuing education, including “Professional Formation Leave,” available to clergy in full-time appointment one week per year and four weeks once every four years. (Book of Discipline ¶350.2) So, for the first time in my 13 years, put in a request with SPR to take the once-every-four-years professional formation leave, and they have approved. (My self-care skills obviously are a work in progress.) I’m told by people who know better than me that the four weeks in a row is because once you get into the habit of carrying the weight of responsibility for the condition of the souls of a large group of people for several years, it takes weeks to actually put it down so that you can shift your focus to your own soul and your own rest. I look forward to bringing you a report of how it works in four weeks!
During this leave I plan to go up to the FLUMC Life Enrichment Center (the grown-up side of the Warren Willis Camp) for some time to pray, journal, take walks, and read in my hammock; drive around Central Florida and visit some mentors; and I’m actually writing two books at once, and so I thought I’d try to finish those and get them ready for the proofreading phase. I may also take some naps.😴
My reading list is Pastor as Public Theologian, by Kevin Vanhoozer, Zealot, by Reza Aslan, and if I finish those I want to start April 1865: The Month that Saved America, by Jay Winik. (Jim Workman loaned it to me about a year ago, and I probably need to get it back to him at some point!) My audiobook in the car will be How to Be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram Kendi.
I will participate in Administrative Council on Monday night, lead staff chapel/staff meeting on Tuesday, August 25th, and then begin the leave at that time. Preachers during this time will be Mt. Olive AME’s Rev. James Williams on August 30, District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Candace Lewis on September 6, your very own Children’s Discipleship Director Janean Briseno on September 13th, and your very own Director of Youth Discipleship Peggy Ingram on September 20th. I’m so excited for two amazing leaders who are people of color, as well as three amazing women in leadership to bring the Scriptures to life at Heritage in the coming weeks!
I’ll be back for Worship Tailgate Party Night on September 26th, which is gonna be awesome!
Tuesday, August 18 2020 by Matt Horan
We believe in God, Creator of the world; and in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation. We believe in the Holy Spirit, through whom we acknowledge God’s gifts, and we repent of our sin in misusing these gifts to idolatrous ends.
We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.
We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and the family.
We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of all persons.
We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.
We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people of the world.
We believe in the present and final triumph of God’s Word in human affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the gospel in the world. Amen.