Yesterday, I took one more step on the road to life-long servitude, and I AM LOVING IT!
Yesterday evening, I moved into another step of the candidacy process (#2 of abt 2mill) for ordination as a deacon in the United Methodist Church. The Staff-Parish Relations Committee at my church (University UMC) has voted to recommend me to the district, and I am a "Beginning" Candidate now. What that means is I can now officially go to the District Superintendent to request that I be assigned a mentor to help guide me through the process and that I have paperwork - a small trickle now compared to the increasing flow and eventual deluge I will face later on. But that is later.
In the meantime, I'm waiting on confirmation of acceptance from Candler Theological at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. I feel so positive about that I may sound overconfident, but I have had moments of sheer joy and or utter peace that make me sure I have aimed in the direction God chose and can not miss this target. I trust, and I feel secure. (UPDATE: No, I did not get accepted to Candler, But I haven't lost that trust and joy in this path. I realize I was being overconfident and really narrow in my focus.)
I started the application process at Asbury seminary as well, but did not prioritize it because Candler felt so certain. Asbury is in Wilmore, Ky just outside of Lexington. It seems a nice school, and comes well recommended. The people there have been very friendly and helpful. They are the incredibly strong second choice. Either way, I'm very excited. (UPDATE: Asbury has been sending me things two and three times a week to help me along with my application and remind me what's next on their calendar. I realize that the peace and joy I feel are not in picking a specific school but from following Christ and trusting in God to get me where I'm supposed to be.)
By the end of the year, I expect the church's charge conference will put the next step of my candidacy to a vote. After that, I can go before the dCOM with more paperwork - several different forms and essays and 14 copies of each. That is still later, though not as much later as the final result. Ordination could be 4-6 (or more) years later, but in the end, I could actually be wearing a stole for special occasions. I will, of course be wearing blue-jeans and boots every day because with God's work, only the getting dirty can wash your heart truly clean. (I came up with that all by myself) GOD IS SO WORTH IT!