Written by Rachel Hackenberg
Dear colleagues in ministry,
I recently read a sermon on the prophet Habakkuk; it caught my attention because we have named the 17-member Manual on Ministry re-vision committee the "Habakkuk Group." The preacher, Michael Pasquarello of Asbury Theological Seminary, reflects on Habakkuk’s determination to wait and watch for what God is doing. In Scripture, Rev. Pasquarello observes, waiting is an active exercise of faith in which we trust that God is doing something not only "out there" but something within us as well. Such waiting, however, does not come with a prescribed program or checklist, blueprint or recipe.
…which reminds me very much of the discernment work of Committees on Ministry: COMs wait and watch for what God is doing among us and especially within our Members in Discernment & authorized ministers, but without a singular blueprint or definitive checklist to define the answer or result.
Practicing such waiting in our individual lives can enhance & deepen our practices of discernment around committee tables. Examples of waiting like Habakkuk can include (1) naming to God what is unknown in our lives and communities, (2) lamenting what is unresolved and unjust and needing God’s action, (3) stepping into each day and each encounter with the conviction that God is still present, still working.
Journaling the Journey: Engaging the Marks for Personal Discernment and Professional Growth asks about our spiritual practices of waiting with this question: “What seeds are being sown in you – by God, by others, by you – for future spiritual growth?”
Please hold in prayer the Habakkuk Group, which meets on June 3-5 to begin its multi-year discernment work, even as we continue to hold all of you in prayer for your wise and patient work as Committees on Ministry in the processes of discernment for authorization and oversight.
The Rev. Rachel Hackenberg
Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Team
Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115