Most of you know that I have some coaching experience in my background. I started in 1980 when I was living in California. Through some luck I became the Cross Country coach at Acalanes High School in Lafayette. Soon I was offered the chance to assist the legendary Bob Warren with the Track program that following spring and in between I was asked to coach the JV Girls' Basketball team.
Having competed in high school and college provided me with most of what I needed to know in terms of training options, racing strategies, and even some of the logistical concerns of team management.
One of the things that I had to learn was how to deal with injuries, other people's injuries. My own competitive career had taught me about the struggle of healing, recovery and training again back to that level last enjoyed when healthy. As a coach I had to learn how to help the injured take the time it takes and not rush back just to risk worsening matters. Among many things it meant helping the whole team rally around to fill-in for the missing team-mate.
As in so many life moments when one is hurt or grieving there is that tendency -- sometimes it's an urgency -- to race again before one is ready to go full speed. Especially when fear is a part of the formula we talk about things like "getting back up on the horse."
Our team does not have someone in the role of deacon. What is not happening is most obvious to us on Sunday mornings. Some of you may have already noticed the extra chalicist coming forward at the invitation to help with serving during communion. There are other ways that our missing Deacon Charles manifests itself. However we know it, that he is missing from the team means that we are being called to rally around.
Part of our response -- more long term -- will be to apply to the Diocese for another person to serve this parish as deacon. We are not in a hurry to get back up on the horse but we do believe that a deliberate and timely request will help us return to being that part of the larger team that is the Episcopal Church in Morgan County.
Another part of our long-term response is going to be to invite our own parishioners to begin saying their prayers that God might be calling them to consider service as a deacon. Granted this consideration will feel much like being invited from the JV team to the starting 5 on the Varsity. It should. But it is a consideration that needs the same kind of time and attention that nursing any athlete back to competition needs. So we will begin that now, too.
Just like in my coaching days -- when calling an athlete back to the team -- both our request to the Diocese and our invitation to the parish are taking the risk that we may be trying too hard, too soon. Mind you, there is just as much risk that someone will miss an opportunity to serve.
Take a look at the information linked here: https://www.episcopalatlanta.org/Clergy/Deacons/
and here: https://www.episcopalatlanta.org/Customer-Content/www/CMS/files/Deacons_General_Guidelines_0613.pdf, then join me as we pray the following pray together. Let's take the time that it takes and rally together to be faithful to the calling to serve that this team already knows so well.
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. BCP 256