When our younger daughter was 2½ years old, her pediatrician advised us that she needed tubes put into her ears to combat a series of infections threatening her hearing. Arrangements were made; on Sunday I informed my congregation from the pulpit that I would be out of the office the next day and why; and too soon morning arrived.
In terms of medical procedures, putting tubes in a child’s ears is relatively minor. But this was my child, my baby, and though she marched down the hall to the surgical suite like a trooper, I was a nervous wreck. My anxiety was compounded by the absence of anyone waiting with us—no elder, no deacon, no one from the congregation, though it was obvious the previous day in church how anxious their young pastor was.
My wife and I were lonely and scared…and then the district minister of my region walked into the waiting room. He was the answer to a prayer I was too afraid to voice. He knew, when no one else seemed aware, that even pastors need pastoral care. And I swore to myself then and there that given the chance I would be “a pastor to pastors” whenever and however I could.
This episode is a foundational piece as to why I went into regional ministry and why, when my friend Pam Holt called, I came out of retirement to serve as your Acting Regional Minister for three months while she’s on a well-deserved sabbatical. I’m happy to be here—happy to minister with and to you, and to and for her—until she returns, hopefully renewed and refreshed, on August 1st.
I hope to encounter you soon, somewhere along the journey, here in Oklahoma!
Acting Regional Minister