Sunday, January 9, 2011

Here and there and back again

This weekend we'd planned to be in Las Vegas helping our friend celebrate her 40th birthday. A few weeks ago, those plans changed. First, we realized that it was the weekend of the biggest Bridal show in the city and we know how amazing it can be to find a new potential vendor. Then, we found out that Pastor Barb would be leaving the church to take a 6 month assignment at another church. This is great for them as our church has been struggling financially so as a husband/wife team they have been making less than what one normal salary would be. Getting 6 months of regular salary is great for her, and there is some savings for our church as well. While she is leaving, her husband Pastor Rich will stepping up to be lead pastor. We were told that this weekend would be her last leading the congregation. So, we decided that Kandi would go to Las Vegas - her favorite place - and I would stay here to attend the Bridal show and see off Pastor Barb.

When we first heard about Pastor Barb leaving, while we were certainly disappointment our only real concern was that she would still be able to perform the ceremony while Rich was the lead pastor just in case that 6 month appointment was extended. We found out that as long as Rich was there, she could easily do it, so we were ok. Then, today things took on a whole new turn.

I happened to walk out of the sanctuary with her at the end of the service and joked with her that she would be terribly missed but was allowed to be gone as long as she needed and go as far as she wanted as long as she came back to do our union ceremony. While she initially laughed back, in her reply things actually took a serious turn. She started talking about what might happen if there was another pastor in place and how there are some ethics issues to be considered. In my head I was shocked - after all, wouldn't her husband still be pastor here? Surely he wouldn't be concerned, right? I posed a question and found that she was actually talking about what it might be like if they were BOTH gone. I have to say that was something we'd never considered. We have a date less than a year away that we'd shared with them and this was the first time there was a hint that they neither of them would be there. The more we talked we realized there was another much larger issue.

Our church was created when two churches of different denominations merged. These denominations are United Church of Christ and United Methodist. Pastor's Barb and Rich are UCC but if they were both to leave then per the charter a United Methodist pastor would be selected. There is a huge debate in the UM denomination going for the last few years about the ability of the church to be open to gay individuals in ministry, marriage or any other commitment ceremony. Officially as of right now gay individuals can not be ministers and should a pastor perform a ceremony (be it union or a legal marriage in a state where it is allowed) for a gay couple they can get in some serious hot water.

In one 10 minute conversation I went from happy to.....I don't even have a good word. The one thing we knew was that we wanted the ceremony in the church and with Pastor Barb. Now - it appears that if we want to ensure that happens - we need to plan it before June. But even if I got a job in the next month - that's highly unlikely since in Arizona no one wants to do a June wedding. Heck, May is even pretty warm. We'd be talking about an April wedding. 3 months away? Yea, I don't see that happening. And if not that - then what?

It was here. Then it was gone. And I may not know until May or June if I can get it back.

Oh yea - I went to the Bridal show yesterday. I scheduled an appointment to actually go in and try on wedding dresses this week. I was excited.

I was. Now....

Now I'm a bit less so.

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