May 17th was my last Sunday in the pulpit at Ridge United Methodist Church. My understanding is that on May 28th, at the Clergy Session of the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church I was voted on and approved to the status of Extension Ministry. What does this mean --- To be honest, I am not completely sure. No one ever discussed it with me.
In March I wrote a letter to the Bishop and District Superintendent requesting that I be placed in Extension Ministry. The next day I got a one word response from the DS saying: “Thanks”. I never heard back from the Bishop.
In April I wrote back asking if there was anything I was told to do. I heard back saying not to worry everything would be taken care of. On May 13th, I finally heard back that they acted on it yesterday and that I was supposed to make a request to the Board of Ordained Ministry. I immediately wrote a letter to that person and sent another copy of the materials that I sent in March. Again, I never heard back.
I guess I am surprised, and saddened that I could fall through the cracks so quickly. When I posted on Facebook that I had been approved, somebody wrote: “Welcome to Extension/disconnected ministry.” Another wrote, “Welcome to extension ministry, or as a certain DS called it, "Leaving the ministry."
I don’t feel like I have left the ministry. Preaching on Sunday mornings is not what ministry is all about. My hunch is, I will do as much “ministry” as I ever did in the local church.
We call ourselves a “connectional ministry”, but in my 30+ years, I have seen the thread of connection frayed and broken. There is not much connection anymore.
Oh well, I will enjoy my dis-connection, and keep on doing my thing for God.