Last week I wrote about my first job offer. I was writing about my second when another story came to mind. I’ll leave it to you to decide what this says about me.
After completing a ministry internship, I moved to Albany in 1989 and went on staff at a church. Although other than occasionally preaching on a Sunday night, I had no responsibilities there. (Usually, when I did speak, it would be something on Super Bowl Sunday. He would never cancel church for something like the Super Bowl, but he also knew no one except the old ladies were coming. So I, or another pleb, would get those assignments.)
During my first month in Albany, I received an early morning call one Monday. I was instructed to be in the pastor’s office ASAP. It turns out someone had mentioned the previous day that I went to the movie theatre occasionally. I was told that this was not permitted while I was on staff at this church. I told him I thought that made no sense but would respect his wishes and not attend the theatre in Albany. (I might have left out the first part of that sentence if this was actually a paying job, but what was he going to do, fire me?)
Since my role wasn’t paid, I also got a job working at a grocery store. I told the store I couldn’t work Sunday nights because of church. After my first year of being on staff, I told the pastor I couldn’t attend Sunday nights anymore because I needed to work at the grocery store. (It got me out of church, and it was time and 1/2 ).
Around that same time, Liz moved out to Schenectady. We got married shortly after and lived in Albany until 1994.
Since we both liked going to movies and couldn’t while in Albany, we would every so often drive across the state border into Massachusetts to watch a film there. It felt like we were bootleggers or something.
In 1993 we knew we were moving to Ithaca in 1994. So I quit my staff position at the church. And while I didn’t tell the pastor, the main reason was so I could go to the movie theatre locally. (is that bad?)
I was still leading the campus ministry…I was in the process of getting ordained…but as you can probably guess, a staff role at this church was not a good fit for me. The people at the church were some of the most AMAZING people Liz, and I have ever met…Actually, the pastor and his wife were kind in so many ways…and I learned some crucial things from him. But being on staff was stifling, and I was so much happier when I quit!
The weird part was he actually started treating me better once I quit. He recommended an interim pastor role at a church (where my second job offer came up…more on that later). And for the first time ever, I was invited to speak there on a Sunday morning…and it wasn’t even the Super Bowl.