The opportunity to be part of the 2010 Young Clergy Women Project conference was such a joy.
I serve outside the local church setting; consequently, it’s easy for me to feel even more isolated in ministry then I did even as a younger single pastor serving my first pastorate at a small church in a rather rural setting. In my current appointment as a United Methodist clergy woman, I don't have consistent opportunities to be with my denominational clergy colleagues. Moreover, I've always loved ecumenical connections and conversations.
This is why The Young Clergy Women Project and its conference – one of many expressions of the Project – feel so essential. Frankly, last year’s experience nourished me in ways I didn't quite expect.
I've been to other conferences. This isn't the same.
The opportunity to be with other young clergy women always gives me a shot of carbonation to have time set apart from demands and expectations in order to be together with others who get it. In these gatherings, I don't have to provide scads of background context before launching into a story. With these women, I already share common frames of reference.
It’s encouraging to talk with other women in ministry who share my pop culture references and who also know what it’s like to deal with being a woman in a leadership vocation that is still often seen as a guy’s domain. It’s great to absorb someone else’s insights (from those leading the conference and those attending), hear someone else’s preaching and worship style (as worship is lead by our young clergy sisters), and just learn. It’s rejuvenating just to get away and laugh and rest, to share time poolside or in prayer, to eat too much and maybe sleep too little.
This conference is made by us and for us, and it provides us necessary inner fuel. I look forward to experiencing it again in person this year at Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC. This year's conference focuses on that rest and renewal I crave. We will explore our spiritual health together as we seek to understand how to re-connect with ourselves and our God.
The 2011 Young Clergy Women Project Conference, presented in conjunction with Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School, is an opportunity for summer sabbath. I invite you to join me for worship and play, prayer and reflection as we explore our spiritual health. Our time will be led by the Reverend Winnie Varghese, a leader in the Episcopal Church's clergy wellness program.
I hope that you will join me on Monday, August 8th through Thursday, August 11th in North Carolina. The fee for this event is $160 including most meal, lodging at the Millenium Hotel and transportation. The deadline for registration is June 30, 2011 so please register now and find the same energy I have found in this amazing cloud of witnesses.