The Indiana Annual Conference ended last Sunday (June 13) following a service of ordination for elders and deacons. I went to church as usual and several people asked me, "Are you staying?" I was taken aback by the question, because I knew that if we were moving we would have found out one or two months ago.
I remember when Mike first began ministry in 1976, more experienced pastor's wives told me stories from the past where no one knew if he/she was moving until annual conference. The pastor then called the spouse, sharing the information that he/she was being placed in a new church. Moving date was two weeks later. These women (back then, there were very few women pastors) began a frenzied two week period of packing and doing all of those other tasks that a move involves.
I am so thankful that today there is much more time given to pack and say good-bye. When Mike had smaller churches, we were honored in various ways when notice arrived that we were staying. One church had a reception each year and gave us gifts. When Mike was assigned to a church on the south side of Indianapolis, the same man in the congregation stood up each year during the service and welcomed us back. Following his announcement, we were greeted with applause. These moments of affirmation were so encouraging and energizing.
"Are you staying?" What is your response? Happy to stay another year?