Over ten years ago, I surrendered my creditials as an Elder (a pastor) in the United Methodist Church. Making that decision was difficult, but over the years it has proven to be even more difficult to let go of the tools for ministry. I scaled down my collection of books when I moved out of the last parsonage. Several years later, I gave a district superintendent a couple of robes and half a dozen stoles.
The objects in the photograph above represent the last of the items I’ve kept:
- the two crosses are models of a larger cross I encouraged a congregation to hang over the altar-table in the sanctuary;
- the paten (plate) and chalice I used to serve Holy Communion in small groups and on retreats;
- the silver chalice on the right I never used. It was a gift from a friend in seminary, who coincidently also left full-time ministry;
- the framed picture in the background is a calendar of the Christian year. This object is the hardest to give away. A coworker and friend gave me my first calendar like this while I was still in seminary. I bought one every year since then, including one for this year. That means there are over 24 calendars in that frame, one stacked on top of the other.
I’m giving these items away because I’ve found someone who might use them. I’m also doing it as a part of The 100 Thing Challenge. I’ve kept these things a long time, so obviously it isn’t easy to let them go. But I need to do it. I don’t need them and they no longer define who I am.