The big reason for my trip back to Portland was to take my ordination exam before the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ’s committee on ministry. Before taking the exam candidates for ministry must write a rather large paper explaining their theology, grasp of UCC polity, and explaining their understanding of ministry. The exam takes place near or at the completion of seminary and after all other references and related materials have been collected and reviewed. A committee of ordained clergy and lay leaders conduct the exam (which is really more like a one-hour interview). You can read more on the process – if interested – by downloading the UCC Manual on Ministry (a PDF file).
The good news is that I received word this morning from our conference minister that the committee will be recommending that I be ordained pending a call to ministry.
That recommendation is now sent to an ecclesiastical council. This council, which will represent a larger group of people in the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ, will review the decision of the committee on ministry, hear a presentation from me and ask questions, and will then make a final determination as to whether or not I get ordained. The ecclesiastical council may be called as early as next month.
Being back in Portland also afforded me the time to meet with Mayor Tom Potter and tour the center where Katrina evacuees are being processed in Oregon. The mayor and I had a good discussion about poverty in the Multnomah County area. I continue to be impressed with how on top of things he and is staff are. The work at the Katrina center, which is being coordinated through several governmental and non-profit agencies, was also impressive. Dona Bolt, Oregon's homeless education coordinator, arranged the tour.
Of course, being back in the Northwest also gave me the chance to visit with many of my family and friends.
The trip home was not so great.
This map shows how my flight should have gone:
This map shows the actual route taken:
My flight should have landed in the early afternoon on Monday. But I actually arrived after 2:30 am this morning. Delta is getting another really nasty letter from me.
But I'll leave you with a happier photo of some of my family and friends.
This was from a nice dinner party at my mother's.
We're looking forward to being back in Portland in October and moving back for good in December.