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Writer, Retreat Leader, Resource Creator
Last Sunday was my first day at Burien Community Church. I guess that’s an exaggeration, because I had to write my sermon, prepare for worship, move into the parsonage, and get the keys to my new office. In addition, we moved into the parsonage a few weeks ago as we were in temporary housing before that, and in order to get our driver’s licenses, register AJ for school and all the other legal items we needed to check off of our list, we needed a permanent address.
But I did not move into my office until this week. I’ve had a variety of pastor offices over the years.
In my first ministry as an Associate for Christian Education, I had an office next to the craft/Sunday School Supply room. My office was full of files and books related to Sunday School and Youth Ministry, and often full of half-finished craft projects and ideas. I was also really, really messy back then. My office was littered with Diet Dr. Pepper cans that I planned on recycling but didn’t, stacks of paper that also needed to get to the recycling bin, and old files that had been left by previous ministers, including curriculum, dating back to the 70’s. I even found an autoharp in its case behind a file cabinet.
In my previous ministry as a Senior Minister, I inherited a computer with Windows 98 (it was 2006) and no printer. There were two broken copiers in the other office room, and both offices were closets off of the chancel. There were steps up from the kitchen and back door, and in order to get to the sanctuary, you had to go either through my office or the church office. There were also file cabinets full of historical records and church documents. The room was small, so I did not bring all of my books to the office; most were in our living room in the parsonage. The church soon purchased a brand-new laptop and printer for me, and we moved most of the files out. However, the greatest changes occurred when I went on maternity leave: two angels from the church repainted and rearranged my office. I had new shelves and a new desk, and my office was arranged in a way in which I could actually meet with people, and I had new chairs. It was exciting to come to my office after that. I do hope the pastor after me enjoyed the bright-green color I requested—that color helped energize me in that space.
Now, I move into my third pastoral office. It is larger than any pastor’s office I have had before; it also has more shelf space than before. But as I think about the space, I realize what I want a pastor’s office to be: inviting and warm for guests. Meditative and peaceful for those under stress and seeking spiritual guidance. Informative and energizing for those seeking knowledge. Safe and fun for children. A place that inspires creativity for me.
It’s not finished yet, but the books are in place. No, I have not read all of those books, but I hope to read more. I also hope to lend out. I hope as a pastor to help equip others for ministry, including those who feel a call to ministry in the church. I hope for children to dream of becoming a pastor someday, so I have children’s books on the lower shelves. I have bulletin boards covered in fabric with inspirational quotes on one wall. Family pictures on the desk. It’s getting there. And I’m loving the time I spend in the office, to the point that it doesn’t feel like an office, but rather the room I share in ministry with the church. It’s my space, with all my personal touches, but I hope it is a space that is inviting and inspiring to all.