Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Cry for Stability

The past 18 months have been a combination of amazing and heartbreaking, with everything in between. 

In June 2014, I left my two Tiny Churches and the rural setting for a position as an Associate Pastor at a mid-sized congregation in a major metro area. The Senior Pastor is also a woman, and it's been a great experience to work with a more experienced female colleague. The church is overall healthy and the potential for ministry is immense. I chose to make this transition: I had the option of staying at Tiny Churches or moving. I'm glad I chose to move, because it was right for my family and for me. This is a healthier setting, for sure. However, it was hard to say goodbye to a place and people I loved, even though things were difficult. 

In June 2015, I was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church. It was a powerful, Spirit-filled experience, made even more powerful because of the rough journey I had to ordination. 

Nora and Walter are "big kids" now and in elementary school. They are doing well, although each of them has some developmental delays that mean I am no stranger to IEP meetings. 

After traumatic ministry experiences in my first two appointments (although there was significant fruit and healing by the time I left my Tiny Churches) and four moves in nine years, I am rather weary of change and transition. I am weary of building relationships and beginning to put down roots, only to have everything change for one reason or another. 

As a leader, I tend to be a change agent...I am not one to be happy with the status quo. But as a person...I really want stability. I want to live someplace for more than a couple years. I want to hold the same position for more than 2-3 years. I want everything to be the same. 

Part of this is a reaction to all the change in my life. Part of it is a reflection of where I am in life...I will be 39 in a few weeks. Part of it is just who I am. 

As a result, I find myself more anxious than usual these days, as we approach the fall season of budgets and "Pastor/SPRC preference forms." I am hoping and praying to stay put...and wondering if that will happen. Will God call me elsewhere? Will the church choose to have me stay? Will there be a budget crisis that will result in my position being cut? 

Monday, January 6, 2014

There and…Back Again?

So, there's good news and…then there's stuff that I need to get off my chest and process.

The good news: overall, ministry with my two churches is going very well. We had a difficult season in terms of pastoral care: I had 11 funerals from September 2012 to April 2013, then a series for pastoral emergencies, then a couple more funerals. I think this has helped us "bond" to a certain extent, and I have heard rave reviews about my pastoral care and skills in leading funerals. In the midst of all this, there is an increased initiative for ministry on the part of each congregation, we are beginning to get some new visitors and increased worship attendance, and the finances in my larger church are beginning to look up…slowly but surely.

I submitted all my materials for ordination as an elder in full connection, and have my interviews scheduled for January 27. Completing that step was a huge victory. There is a 50-60% chance that I will be "continued" (that they will tell me that I need to improve in one or more areas, and resubmit materials in those areas), but there's not much that I can do except pray and prepare for the interviews.

And then there's the stuff I need to get off my chest…

My larger church appears to have a pattern of passive-aggressive behavior in which they bury or ignore issues until it all blows up, and either PPRC (Pastor-Parish Relations Committee) asks the pastor to move or the pastor gets fed up with it and moves. Since I arrived 18 months ago, I have been very intentional about encouraging open and honest conversation. I have met with leaders, I have asked for feedback, I have asked questions when something didn't seem right, and I met with the PPRC monthly for my first eight months. All I heard was "everything is great! You're great!" In March, I got totally blindsided by a) my PPR chair wanting us to have the evaluation at that meeting, instead of the next month, as planned, b) the PPR unanimously voting to move to quarterly meetings, and c) a bunch of constructive criticism that, while welcome and helpful, I had not heard before then. When I tried to dialogue with my PPR Chair about it, she resigned. At the past three PPR meetings, I have been blindsided by mostly petty things that have been brought up. At each of these meetings, I have listened, tried to reflect feelings, and reiterated my desire for a) people in the congregation to approach me with any concerns and b) members of the PPR to share with me any concerns they hear BEFORE a meeting. For six months, I offered something called "Pastor's Office Hours", where I was at a local cafe for a specific day and specific time period once or twice a week, and invited people to come and talk to me. In all that time, I had about 4 people come: most of the time, I sat alone and worked on my laptop.

At our last meeting, a number of petty things were brought up (none of which had to do with my job performance) that not only had I not heard anything about, but neither my new PPR chair (who is very supportive) nor my Lay Leader had heard, either. Reading between the lines, it seems like there is a generational rift going on (the vast majority of my leaders are over 60; I am 37) and well as a difference in understanding the role of the pastor (I get the sense that they think they "own" me and want me to be available for them on their terms). I have put both my office phone AND cell phone AND e-mail in the bulletin since I arrived. I hardly ever get phone calls. The few times someone has offered me constructive criticism, I have listened to them and often taken that advice to heart. My frustration stems from the reality that my congregation appears to not know how to deal with conflict in healthy ways.

Thankfully, my DS is supportive, and are my PPR Chair and Lay Leader. At our PPR meeting this week, we are going to introduce and vote on an official process for addressing complaints and concerns in regards to the pastor and paid staff that requires people to either approach me directly OR write their concern down, sign, and date it. I am also doing a sermon series on the hard sayings on Jesus…and the first passage I'm preaching on is Matthew 18, where Jesus tells us to work things out ourselves.

I feel at peace…I have a therapist...I am praying and reading lots of Peter Steinke and Edwin Friedman…I have a strong support system…but in my darker moments, I find myself lost in self-doubt and shame. It seems like my experience with my first appointment is happening all over again…despite my best efforts to prevent it. What I wrestle with the most is figuring out where "their stuff" ends and "my stuff" begins…is there something about who I am and the way I conduct myself that communicates to people that I am fragile, that I am not open to feedback, that I am unavailable to them? How do I figure this out, if my congregation members (who see me more often than my DS or my colleagues), can't or won't communicate honestly with me?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hello From the Eastern Shore

The short version that I tell everyone, and that is mostly true:  things are great, I love my churches, my churches love me, I am thriving, my children are thriving, Harry is coping well with the commute, and I love being a pastor. I feel that I am where God wants me to be. Daily I am seeing signs of God transforming me into the person that God is calling me to be.

I am not lying when I tell people that, because it really is true. However, it's not the WHOLE truth.

Because in addition to the above, I am being stretched thin in so many ways and feeling overwhelmed in so many ways and...I often feel like I'm drowning. The combination of church and family responsibilities, especially when there is a lot going on in both arenas...sometimes has me weeping.

I am getting over period of time where I have been sick for about three weeks. I actually missed one Sunday (fever and flu-like symptoms), began feeling better, made it to church the next week, and then came down with the stomach flu. I did virtually no church work for two weeks, and did the bare minimum at home. I am better now, but dealing with guilt (from missing a Sunday and two meetings) and the pileup of responsibilities from while I was sick.

Tomorrow, I will be doing funeral #9 since mid-September. I am willing to buy everyone who is reading this blog post lunch if death #10 doesn't happen by Easter (NOTE: if you want the lunch, you need to come to the Eastern Shore to collect. The closest airport is in Norfolk, 45 minutes away).

I know how to be a pastor. I know how to be a mother. I know how to be a wife. I know how to be a follower of Jesus. However, balancing all of those, doing all of those decently, and trying to improve in at least a few of those areas...has me in frustrated and guilty tears more than once a week.

My churches ARE extremely supportive. God is teaching me a lot about grace through them. They keep telling me to take care of myself, and a few people offer suggestions like "take a nap", "read a book not related to ministry", "spend time with your family". They see me as a person, they have embraced Harry and the kids, they even like my dog. My ministry with them has been very effective. I keep receiving affirmation from them, and I can see fruits of our ministry together.

I have a decent support system, although it is still in development. I see my therapist every two weeks, I am seeking out a spiritual director, I have a clergy support group Across the Bay (how we on the Shore refer to areas south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel) that I attend every week, there is another one here on the Shore that I attend once a month or so (both groups are 45 minutes away, and Mac is in the one Across the Bay, and they tend to be more outside-the-box, so I tend to go there). I am trying to grow and improve in my disciplines of soul care, although I admit that I struggle in that area. Writing often helps me process, which is why I'm back to blogging after a hiatus. it normal for me to be feeling like this? Stretched out, overwhelmed, crying a few times a week, often feeling like I'm drowning? Yet, at the same time, I feel that this is where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. Very similar to all those Sundays when Mac's sermon made me cry and left me feeling raw. I just naively thought that it would END. But, it HASN'T. Will it ever end?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Rest of the Story

I'll give you the details later in this post, but I'll get to the bottom line first: I decided to take the appointment. Beginning July 1, I will once again be a pastor.

After I talked to both District Superintendents, Harry and I spent the weekend praying and talking and discerning. I spoke with a few close clergy friends (poor Mac and Helen; they bore the brunt of my angst and questions. I think I called Mac about four times over the weekend) who offered comfort and wisdom. By Monday morning, Harry and I had decided to move forward with the appointment. I called Essie, and she scheduled a "Meet Your Pastor" meeting for the next week.

Then, on Monday night, Harry looked at me and said, "I can't do this." Meaning move to the Eastern Shore, live in a parsonage, and possibly subject ourselves to what we had experienced before. He changed his mind, but seeing his anguish made me question whether or not I should take this appointment or not. I spent a couple hours with Mac the next day, venting and processing, and he said something that made a huge difference: "before you call Essie and cancel the meeting, make a plan for how you will spend the next year." So, I began thinking and planning. I didn't really want to stay at BTUMC if Mac wasn't going to be there, and didn't know how the next pastor would feel about me. Mac's new church was still an unknown, so he couldn't promise me any sort of significant role there (plus, since it's the church I attended for a year, I knew that he probably wouldn't need me). My friend Prisca said that I could be an unpaid staff member at her church, and she even had a ministry opportunity for me. I also looked at a few part-time ministry positions on my current district. doing all of that, I felt somewhat depressed. I felt like I was back where I had been two years ago, when I was still discerning what God wanted me to do for the rest of my life. However, I knew what God wanted me to do; I knew what I wanted to do: be a pastor. And since Harry was willing to move with me and support me, I didn't feel like I had a really valid reason to turn down the appointment...besides fear. This was the first roadblock I had encountered in my process of returning to full-time ministry. Except for this one issue, I was getting green lights everywhere else.

So, with Harry's support and my sense that this was God's will, I met with the Pastor Parish Relations Committee of my new appointment. There are two churches, which I'll call Cherry UMC and Bayside UMC (C and B to be short). The meeting went really well...I think this is a really good match for my gifts, and the people seem very gracious. I like Essie (my new DS) and also like Daisy (my code name for my PPR chair).

We've seen the parsonage (it's OK, but we'll miss our home) and we're hoping to be able to rent our house to a friend who is moving to this area. We can't sell it, and really don't want to rent it to total strangers, in case they trash it. I have the kids enrolled in a local daycare/preschool, and they start on July 2.

I'm going to be a pastor again. While it is very scary, it also feels very RIGHT.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Never Presume to Assume...

I got the call at 11am on Thursday. A two-point charge on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, so about 50 miles from my house. A bit of a distance, but commutable. It sounded like a decent match. One small detail: the "receiving" DS said that the church really wanted someone who would "live among them". I didn't say anything right then, just thanked both my DS (whom I'll call Phil) and the receiving DS (whom I'll call Essie).

Over the next 24 hours or so, Harry and I talked about and thought about the "living among them" phrase. Our assumption going into this process was that either a) I would commute to and from the church every day or b) if it was a long distance, I would at least establish some sort of residence in the community and Harry and the kids would stay in our area. Clearly, we were praying like crazy for an appointment nearby. Because we're $30K underwater in our home, we can't sell it right now, so we cannot move the whole family at this time.

So, yesterday (Friday) morning I called Essie and asked her how big of a deal it was that I not live in the community. Apparently, the church considers it to be a deal-breaker. Essie was very gracious and told me that she would call the Staff-Parish chair at this church, but thought that my living outside of the community just wouldn't work. She told me we'd be in touch.

Less than an hour later, I received a call from Phil (my current DS). He was livid. Why hadn't I told him that we owned a home (he never asked; he knew we lived in the area, but he didn't ask if we rented or owned)? Why hadn't I told him about our mortgage (see above, but also because I don't think it would have made a difference)? Why hadn't we thought this through more (well, we had; I was going to move by myself)?

An hour after that, he called back, somewhat mollified, and said that he had talked to Essie more about my situation. They had both decided that if this appointment is going to work, MY ENTIRE FAMILY has to move to the Eastern Shore. Not just me, but my entire family. I have until Monday to decide and let them know. Phil also told me that if this appointment "falls through", then I'll have to be on Family Leave for another year. That sort of stinks (after all, I'm willing to accept the appointment, they're the ones putting up unreasonable demands, so why should I lose out), but I don't have much control over that. He invited me to call Essie and ask her questions.

Harry and I talked, and we agreed that I could offer to move onto the Eastern Shore and live in that community. Assuming that I could find childcare, I would even be willing to have the kids spend the summer with me and maybe a few days a week after that. I made the offer to Essie, who didn't think it would be enough, but was going to take it back to the Staff-Parish chair.

Harry is willing, but reluctant, to move onto the Eastern Shore and commute to work every day. However, we need to decide if that's what God is calling us to do. If God is calling us to give up our house, our suburban lifestyle and the comforts thereof and move to an extremely rural community with few children and few families our age and an uncertain future with this church, then we'll do it. On the other hand, if God is calling us to give up this appointment and possibly even my career in the UMC, we'll do that. But either choice will have major consequences, and I'm not willing to deal with those circumstances unless I know I'm following God's will.

There are also some red flags in my mind about boundaries and this church. If they're going to demand where I live and where my family lives, will they also make other inappropriate demands? Will they be upset if they don't see my car in the driveway enough? Or if I spend "too much" time on the other side of the water? Will they expect Harry to be the perfect pastor's spouse, dress up every Sunday, and show up to men's breakfasts? If I give them an inch, will they take a mile? Because if that happens, then this will turn out to be a bad appointment.

So, I have until Monday to listen for, discern, and then follow God's voice and call...and be strong enough to handle the consequences.

Do I stand firm to my boundaries and risk losing this appointment and possibly my career?
Do I move my family to the Eastern Shore and deal with a church (two churches, actually) that will probably not respect my boundaries, and result in either myself or them getting hurt?

The question is, what is God calling me to do?

Prayers are welcome. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sometimes You Can Tell From the Little Things

Over the years, I have realized that there is a distinction between those whom we call "clergy friends." There are clergy friends and then there are clergy FRIENDS. There are clergy whom we call friends, with whom we have perfectly good collegial relationships, but we only see each other at clergy events and don't get very deep with each other.

On the other side of things are clergy who may have begun in the above category, but who have become real and true friends over the course of time. They are friends who are also clergy. We share a vocation and delight in seeing each other at clergy events, we can work well together, but there is more to the relationship than just being clergy. We can trust each other, and share secrets together, and rejoice and cry together.

I've often thought that the sign that a relationship is moving from the first category to the second is when the boundaries between our professional and personal lives become more fluid...and it's on a mutual basis. In other words, a clergy friend has become a FRIEND when you can feel free to call them on their day off, and vice verse.

Over the past year or so, my relationship with Mac has morphed in ways that I hadn't least from my point of view. I began by seeing him as my pastor and in a totally different league than me...and couldn't imagine viewing him as even close to an equal. But then I began seeing more of his human side, and he probably saw my human side...and that put him in a more realistic light. My increased sense of authority and awareness of the gifts that I bring to the table and to our relationship also helped things. And while I can't put my finger on when or how or why the change occurred, I've sensed a depth to our relationship in the past month or two that didn't exist before. It gives me confidence and hope that even after we "part ways" in June (meaning, going to our different churches), that our relationship will continue beyond just seeing each other at Annual Conference and being F*cebo*ok friends.

Anyway, all of that crystallized in one amazing moment this morning at the Golden Trees luncheon. We were sitting at different tables, but our paths crossed at one point and he asked if I had heard anything. I said no, but he would be one of the first people I called...unless I heard something tomorrow (Thursday is his day off). He told me that if I heard tomorrow, to call him, because he wants to celebrate with me. I reminded him that there's a possibility that the news might have me in tears...and then he said, "we can cry together."

So, Mac invited me to call him on his day off...which he protects vigilantly. He even wants me to call if I'm upset about the news I hear.

That speaks volumes to me. Sometimes, it's the little things that say the most.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Death Knell is Getting Louder...Is Anyone Listening? Part 1

I am an idealist. I am also a moderate rebel, a square peg in a round hole.

I see the way things can be, and I have this huge desire to do whatever I can to make them be that way.

I have no problem following the rules as long as I agree with them; as long as they make sense. When the rules don't make sense, when I don't agree with them, I tend to chafe against them and have a desire to push the envelope.

And I am part of a denomination that clings to a structure and system that don't work, that refuses to even admit that there is something wrong, much less refuses to change anything.

Here are my two rants: APPORTIONMENTS and the ITINERANT SYSTEM


In my annual conference, the SINGLE measure for pastoral effectiveness is whether or not a church pays their apportionments (the amount, determined by the annual conference, that the local church pays to support the missions and ministries of the conference and denomination...which sounds great, but essentially supports the bureaucracy of the denomination). We track professions of faith, laity involvement, discipleship opportunities, etc, but based on what a number of clergy colleagues have told me, you can have people coming to Jesus left and right, highly developed lay leaders, a multitude of small groups, and incredible outreach to the community, but if your church does not pay its are an ineffective pastor. End of story.

I find myself intensely struggling with that. On the one hand, I believe that as long as apportionments exist, churches should strive to pay them and pastors should encourage their churches to pay apportionments, because the money does do amazing things...despite also helping to support a bureaucracy.

On the other hand, I have personally seen how paying apportionments has financially strapped local congregations and crippled them from doing effective ministry in their local community. For example, SJ faithfully paid their apportionments every single year, but between them and my salary, they had almost no money for actual ministry (of course, even if they had more money, it may not have made a huge difference because they just seemed determined to die, but I digress). BT has NOT paid its apportionments the past two years, because if we had, then we might have had to cut our budget to the point where we had a building but no ministries or staff.

Mac is currently being penalized because he was the pastor of a church that did not pay its apportionments. The past two years were the first time in his 20-plus year career as a pastor that he didn't pay apportionments. If you've read more than two posts on this blog, you know how highly I think of Mac. And despite how frustrating BTUMC is at times, I think it's an amazing congregation and God is doing amazing things there, mostly because of Mac's leadership.

But, he didn't pay apportionments, so he's being moved. (And I have a feeling that my involvement on Finance and Church Council at BT has tainted me, even though I voted "no" on the recommendation to NOT pay apportionments, but I'll deal with my thoughts about being "tainted" by my association with Mac and BT in another post.)

And it just doesn't seem fair. Or right. Stay tuned for part 2, THE ITINERANT SYSTEM.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Therapist is Making Lots of Money These Days

The good news: my request to come off of Family Leave and take a full-time appointment was approved by the Conference Relations Committee. I found out yesterday.

The bad news: I have been, am currently, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, a nervous wreck.

Why is that, you ask?

  • My entire future is unknown. I have no control over it. Yes, God is in control of it, but that's of little comfort right now. I have requested a appointment in the area, but it's possible I might not get one. It's possible I might be appointed several hours away.  We are not in a position to sell our house (hello, $30K underwater) and Harry's job is in this area, so...if I get an appointment out of the area, I have two options. Option #1 is to take the appointment and see my husband and children a couple days a week, if that. Option #2 is the turn down the appointment, which would essentially end my career. Neither option is especially attractive, as you can imagine. And no, I don't know what I will do. I'm leaning towards #1, but the thought of not seeing my husband and children every day breaks my heart.
  • For some reason, the bishop is insisting that appointments be kept as secret as possible, and that word not "get out" until May 20, which is when the official announcements are made as to who is going where. Mac is leaving BTUMC. The SPRC is aware of this, and have already met with the projected new pastor (whose identity I don't know yet). They are sworn to secrecy (snort), but it appears that Carrie told Matt who told a few other people and now there is a little bit of chatter in the hallways of BTUMC about Mac leaving. I can not, and will not, tell anyone. But it grieves me that I am carrying around a secret that will break some peoples' hearts. The only reason I'm mentioning it here is that a) the only people IRL who know about this blog are people I trust implicitly and b) it's nearly impossible to find this blog if you don't know to look for it.
  • I am experiencing some anger at the Three Musketeers and at the UMC itinerant system. I'm mad at the Three Musketeers because they're partially responsible for Mac leaving, and because his leaving is making them so damn happy. The very selfish part of me wants to walk up to them at church, hand them each a bottle of champagne, and say, "congratulations! Now, celebrate." Of course, I'm not going to do that. BUT I WANT TO. I'm angry at the UMC system because this forced secrecy is hurting and stressing out both myself and my friends...meaning Mac and Helen (his wife, which whom I've become friends). 
  • I'm experiencing a lot of anticipatory grief over leaving BT and leaving Mac. A lot of it is about leaving Mac, which is sort of ridiculous since if we do both wind up on the same district, we'll still see a decent amount of each other anyway. And I have his cell number, and personal e-mail it's not like I won't be able to reach him. However, it will be different, and that is hard.
  • On a personal note, Walter (the two-year-old) is not walking or talking. He is in Physical and Speech Therapy, is very bright, and there is no doubt that he will walk and talk someday. He is also the size of a 14 month-old, so we're becoming BFFs with the Endocrinologist. It's just a matter of waiting...and in this current season of my life, waiting is HARD. 
So, I'm doing a lot of crying. And praying. And hyperventilating. And staying up late because I can't sleep because I keep thinking "what if" scenarios.

I'm doing what I can to cope. I talk to both Mac and Helen on a somewhat consistent basis (Helen more than Mac, because we're both somewhat active on F*acebo*k and we play Scrabble via the iPad/iPhone. We're also both rebels who like to rage against the machine). I have another clergy friend with whom I talk fairly frequently. I've started seeing my counselor weekly, and will continue that schedule...until I'm more stabilized. And during this Lenten season, I am trying to relinquish my desire for control and the anxiety that a lack of control brings me...and give everything over to God.

But it's hard. So very, very hard...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Housekeeping matter

I changed the name of the church I attend to "BTUMC" or "BT", with the "BT" standing for "Big Tree". It's an attempt to keep things more anonymous. I'm in the process of changing the labels, also. Just FYI.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chess, Pawns, and the UMC System

Mac is moving in June.

He told me on Friday morning, when I called him about something totally unrelated. I was about to say goodbye when he said, "I have to talk to you."

It's top-secret right now (he wasn't even supposed to tell me, but felt he needed to), but once the projected new pastor meets with the SPRC, word will begin leaking out and some time after that an announcement will be made from the pulpit. There will be no public announcement of who is coming to BTUMC until the third Sunday of May, and even I don't know who that is (Mac does, but he's not telling me). Mac is keeping the news of where he is going mum, although I have a good idea where he is going, simply because I have a knack for that.

He wasn't supposed to move. He was expecting to be at BT for another few years. However, we didn't pay our apportionments (our tithe to the larger church, which was over $100K this year) in 2010 or 2011, and that's turned out to be a BIG DEAL. Of course, the reason we didn't pay this year was largely due to the antics of the Three Musketeers. Matt (the finance chair) acted like he was upset that we didn't pay apportionments, but in reality...I don't think he cared that much.

In a system where the major indicator of pastoral effectiveness is whether or not a church pays its apportionments...not paying apportionments is a BIG DEAL, and apparently the way the Cabinet is punishing pastors/churches who don't pay apportionments is by moving them, saying that their "gifts are needed elsewhere in the annual conference."

Reportedly, Carrie (Staff-Parish chair) was "giddy with excitement" when she heard the news, and my response to that was, "what a %$#@! And while she may be sworn to secrecy right now, as soon as a meeting is held with the new pastor, she will be able to share the news with the other Musketeers. They can cackle in glee together.

Meanwhile, I'm sad that Mac won't be at BT next year (even though I won't be, either, but I liked the idea of coming back and having him there). I'm angry on his behalf that he's having to move (not out of the area, but he will have to sell his house and move to a parsonage) because of the resistance that he experienced from these three people. I'm also sad for BT...because the vast majority of people will be very upset when they find out Mac is leaving.

And honestly...I guess I'm angry with and struggling with the concept of a system that treats clergy as pawns to be moved around the "board" of the Annual Conference at will...with very little input. And a system that penalizes clergy for not paying apportionments, even though so much of that may be out of their control (for example, at the finance meeting where we voted to pay or not pay apportionments, Mac and I were the only holdouts...everyone else voted to NOT pay apportionments).

I'm also anxious about my own appointment...and I probably won't hear from my DS until March or April. I'm on the list for potential associate pastor positions, and am hoping that I might get a call for an interview for one of those. We shall see.