St. Paul’s, Oregon City
Member of the Committee for Baptismal Ministry Development (COM-B)
How did you get involved with COM-B? The Rev. Deacon Laurel Hart and Carol Stranz, another woman from St. Paul’s, were in Education for Ministry (EfM) with me. Laurel approached me and asked if I would be interested. It sounded like a lot of what I was already doing or wanted to do, so I said yes and then the bishop said yes so there I was!
What does COM-B do? Our main objective is to educate people about lay ministries. When people talk about ministry, they assume it means Holy Orders, which is amazing for some people, but not every one of us is called to do that. But everyone is born with gifts of some description, and it’s a matter of identifying those gifts, and what makes your heart happy, and using that to move forward, live a Gospel life, and share it with others! The commission has the task of bringing that idea forward to the rest of the diocese, that there’s a ministry for everyone to do and we would like to help you discover what that is.
We do this through workshops and personal growth talks to inform people about what ministry is, that it’s about giving of yourself to help others. So, everything you do really can be a ministry, and once you recognize and acknowledge that then you can many times move forward in whatever you’re doing.
Another important realization is that there are things that you do out of commitment or responsibility or other people’s expectations, and you do them and can do them well, but they may not always be what you are called to do, and we help you identify that as well. Just because your grandmother and mother were on Altar Guild, and it’s assumed you will move into that role, doesn’t mean that’s where your heart lies!
We try to make people aware of all the different opportunities within the Church and within their communities. It’s an ongoing process, because as you grow, you can change, or you can enlarge on what you’re doing. Sometimes, eventually it does become a call to the diaconate or the priesthood, but for most of us, we’re pretty focused on the regular aspects of daily life.
What brings you joy? Sharing the art of discernment. There is something important about learning to discern; you don’t just wake up one morning and decide what you’re going to do. Training people in discernment and helping them with the process to go on and find out what ministry and joy is for them individually. I think education and discernment are my two high points. And I like to share the Good News, that’s what I’m about!
What helped you prepare for this COM? Four years of EfM certainly was a contributing factor, because there again was such emphasis on education and discernment. The goal of EfM is to lead you into ministry, whatever it may be. I’ve also been a youth educator in children’s formation for 40+ years off and on, and watching the kids grow into what they want to become is very rewarding for me. So that’s what led me to say yes when the Commission found me!
We are always looking for folks of a like mind, who value discernment and ministry, to consider serving on the commission and to support the commission in our workshops and events. Also, I encourage everyone to take advantage of all the resources that are out there! There’s so much going on in this diocese and people are putting their blood, sweat and hearts into everything that goes on in order to share with the greater community so that everyone can participate!