My placement was nearly last minute and came out of the blue. St. Michael’s came on board to host me not two weeks before I was supposed to arrive in Austin. As a result, my job description was fairly loose and flexible. It made sense considering what my history of being a youth leader, a camp counselor, and a coordinator at a campus ministry. I looked forward to working in difference areas and going deeper into what it means to be church in today’s times.
It seemed everything fell into place. I was helping with Sunday School and youth group, helping form a non-traditional church, and coordinating an effort to help feed poor families on Thanksgiving (We raised upwards of $1000 which fed about a hundred families). I even got to preach twice. I was finding my place.
In February, though, everything changed. Our rector retired, we lost our communications specialist and our parish administrator (We hired another one soon after but we lost that person as well for reasons I won’t state). It was the four of us on staff shouldering a lot of the weight of those lost positions that kept the church running smoothly And…honestly…it involved a lot of things I didn’t like doing. Things like typing up newsletters, making sure thermostats are set, answering the phone and trying toprovide answers to questions I may or may not know the answer to, among some other things. Essentially, making sure the church ran smoothly largely depended upon some of my duties. I was working with a small margin for error.
It was and still is a bit draining, especially when it interfered with teaching responsibilities around the confirmation class I taught a few sessions of and the bible study I was leading that fizzled out as a result. But in the midst of transition, the best you can do is keep on with what you are doing. And there are some little things I was able to do that did some real good such as:
-Served at Community First Village with our confirmation class
-Set up our refugee ministries with an interview with a news reporter from Ireland
-Started making weekly orders for our Food Pantry
-And in a few days, I leave for a mission trip to Los Angeles, CA.
My main worksite duties were not ideal for me, but I gained some valuable skills that will help me greatly down the road. Things like learning how to budget my time, getting better with word documents, how to compartmentalize, I had a few bad habits that I needed to deal with and I was able to correct them to a degree. I realized how much energy I had and what I was capable of. Then again, if it was easy I wouldn’t have grown and I’m always grateful for experiences that help me grow.
-Will, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Austin