So, I knew my summer schedule was going to be busy. It usually is. But until today, when I went across the hallway to make sure my Senior Pastor knew what dates I was going to be gone for trips and whatnot, I did not realize quite exactly how busy I am going to be. Let's take a glimpse at what is in store for Pastor Mark!
Right off the bat, in June, I will be gone from June 7-12 with our 7th graders at Confirmation Camp. This goes from Sunday until Friday. It's an all day thing. I will ride the bus with my 7th graders for a three hour trip (as I was typing this, the theme song for Gilligan's Island popped into my head... "A three hour tour, a three hour tour..." I hope our trip is more successful than Gilligan's...) up to the camp. That means I am there for the duration. There will be no day trips elsewhere, or drives in the country to get away from the kids. Luckily, I will have a room in the retreat center while they are all in the cabins, so I will have time to get away.
Then, as soon as I get back from camp, camp comes to us! We have our Vacation Bible School from June 15-18, and the counselors will arrive on Sunday, June 14. So we will have four days of action packed Vacation Bible School for our kindergarteners-sixth graders.
Then comes my biggest break of the summer because, besides a wedding and, oh, I don't know other normal pastoral duties, I don't have anything until July 21-27 which is the ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. We will be taking a bus down, along with three other local congregations, and headed down to New Orleans where there is going to be around 35,000 other youth and adults from all over the country, and even some other countries. We'll be doing some massive service projects around the city, as well as participating in some LARGE group gatherings and worships, and taking part in some community life activities.
I'll get back from that sometime around July 27th, at which time I'll have to do laundry and pack to get ready to go on our mission trip to Denver on August 2-7. This is through the group Youthworks, so luckily everything is figured out, I just have to worry about getting the kids there. While there, we'll do some service projects, work with neighborhood kids, volunteer and nursing homes and homeless shelters and other service organizations. We'll be taking vans down to Denver, to transport our 30 youth and adults who are attending.
Then, I get a ten day break (TEN DAYS! WOO HOO!!!) after I get back to recuperate and do laundry before I need to pack my bags and head up into Minneapolis for the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. The Churchwide Assembly is the largest legislative body in the ELCA, where voting members from all 65 synods gather together every two years to vote on resolutions, recommendations, proposed amendments and other motions. Each synod is responsible for electing a certain number of voting members to represent them at the Assembly. This year, I have been elected to be a voting member! So I am excited to participate in this way!!
Whew! And there we have it, folks. That is what my summer is shaping up to look like. Somewhere in there I want to enjoy the summer, as well as figure out Confirmation curriculum for the coming year, and maybe even relax a little bit!! My summer is looking BOOKED, folks!
p.s. I should say that even though I will be busy, I am very excited. All of these things that I get to do this summer are things I enjoy. I LOVE camp. So camp and VBS will be no problem for me. I love the mission trips, they are great experiences and are not too stressful on me, because Youthworks always has capable and friendly staff to head things up (except for that time in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania when they ran out of tortilla chips before I could make my nachos and I had a meltdown and gave myself a time out in the van... It had been a long day). I am SUPER excited for the National Youth Gathering. This will be my 3rd, I've been to St Louis with the congregation I served as a youth director, and to San Antonio as a volunteer on the Community Life team, and now to New Orleans as a pastor! It should be a great time! And the Churchwide Assembly excites me to no end. I am an admitted church nerd. I love to go to Synod Assemblies and whatnot, and this will be my first time to attend a Churchwide Assembly. And I had to choose to be nominated for the voting member spot, so it's not like I was chosen out of the blue or that it's like jury duty and I have no say in the matter. So, while this will be a busy summer, it is bound to be a fun and exciting and amazing and memorable summer, too. I'm sure I will blog a lot about it!!!