In my monthly report to council I include a section I call "narrative highlights" before I list the various pastoral acts, meetings and events in which I was involved over the previous month. I'm not thrilled with the "listing" I do in the report, but I enjoy writing the narrative highlights (if any of you have monthly report formats that you like, please share!).
Here is the narrative highlight I wrote in my January report, reflecting on the ministry we shared together in December through the lens of the record snowfall we had on the 4th weekend of Advent:
It's a good thing that I don't read divine messages into meteorological events, for on December 20, the first anniversary of my ordination, Arlington was all but shut down. 18" of snow covered our area the day before in the largest December snowfall ever recorded in the DC region. It was a fitting anniversary, filled with the challenges and joys and quirks of pastoral ministry. A day earlier I spent hours shoveling the church sidewalk. On Sunday I preached wearing blue jeans and snow boots (something that you may never see ever again!), while men from our church continued to clear the sidewalk in service to church members and neighbors alike. On Sunday evening I stayed inside with my family, since our caroling of good news in the neighborhood was canceled. We also regrettably canceled the Young Adult wine and cheese scheduled that evening at the parsonage. December 20 was an exhausting and somewhat disappointing anniversary.
But that day also highlights just how vibrant our church is. Despite the snow, we worshiped and we worked hard to make ours the driest and clearest sidewalk in Arlington. A devotion was emailed to the congregation via our new email system, and a Sunday School teacher sent her lesson to parents to use as a snowed-in activity. The wine and cheese event was rescheduled to shortly after the New Year, and was a success. By Christmas Eve, enough snow had been cleared and melted that worship services went off without a hitch.
I'll always remember December 20, 2008, the day I was ordained here at Resurrection. But I'll also always remember December 20, 2009, the day that we stepped up in faith to a snow storm that threatened to close us down.