Well, I know where I am going, now. Last Friday, I sat down with the Pastor Parish Relations Committee (PPRC) of the Center Moreland and Dymond Hollow United Methodist churches, which is a two point charge east of Scranton and North of Wilkes Barre, PA. It will be my first solo appointment since 1999-2001, and my first one since ordination.
Center Moreland is the larger church, Dymond Hollow the smaller. They are eight miles away from my current appointment, but it is a very long eight miles. You start in a busy suburban area, with grocery stores, banks, car washes, pizza joints and other neccessities, and drive north. The stores and strip malls become less frequent, and as you turn left, the last one passes you by. The road gets smaller, and a lot weavier. At the crossroads in Center Moreland,there is a deli, which when you walk inside also becomes a pizza takeout place, meat market, and movie rental store.
The parsonage at Center Moreland sits on the top of a hill, with tree covered hills all around. In fall, this must be blinding!
There are dairy farms and horse farms all around. The church is about 200 yards from the house, down a hill that we're told is a killer sledding hill.
When my wife and I were waiting for the PPR to meet a bit with the District Superintendent, we sat in the Beetle with all the windows open as well as the sunroof. There was quite a racket in the gloaming; geese. And as they came closer, there were just two, not the 30 it sounded like! We also listened to bugs and other nature noises we don't get much right now, including the passing of two ATV's.
As we were leaving after the extremely pleasant 2 hour meeting, I almost stepped on a frog that was on the walkway. I haven't seen one of those in forever! Our thought, as we left, was "our 7 year old is going to really enjoy this!"
There are adjustments I will need to make, like adjusting for preaching weekly. There will be a lot more sermon posts! I'll also need to get up a little earlier in order to get everyone out the door earlier in the mornings. It will also be odd to have the church office in the house, but these are all just adjustments, and doable.
I really feel that the Conference and the Bishop has really worked to meet my family's needs, and has given me a really good appointment. My prayer is to not bollocks it up--to start slow, preach well, visit, and let the visions come on God's time. The people of the PPRC were gentle, flexible, and interested in worship and Bible study. It gave me a good vibe, and the churches both have good reputations among my colleagues.