Sunday, 14 January, 2001: In which I face an ultimatum, and list the pros and cons

I am down at Philip Island, with Cathy and the girls, Cathy's parents, and her Uncle and Aunt. We arrived last night. I woke up at 9:20am and immediately dressed and went off on my own to mass at the local Catholic Church. Mass had begun at 9:00am, and I arrived just during the offertory. It was packed! At least 350 people there, with no more seats spare, and people standing or sitting on the floor at the back and in the porch; people of all ages and races. It was a powerful reminder to me that the Catholic Church is a living and dynamic community. Numbers alone have never impressed me, but here is the catholic faith in a living community--it was very reassuring.

Especially because at this point in time, I am facing an ultimatum from my district president: take this call or take leave of absence.

I have just re-read this entire journal (it has taken me all afternoon). Now, I am going to attempt to put down all the things that have taken place in the last 10 days or so (I have taken hand written notes of most conversations) including my interview with the president last Wednesday, and also revisit a couple of statements from the journal itself in the light of his ultimatum.

First, here are some reasons that I should take the call to Hope Valley:

  • I would have support in my ministry from another pastor (and that pastor would be one whom I count a good friend and have worked with in the past)
  • Being a second (rather than senior) pastor.
  • New, spacious, well appointed home.
  • Full time position and salary (Lutheran Homes Incorporated are a “money no object” prospect).
  • Walking distance to all parishoners.
  • Clear boundaries to time and responsibility.
  • Proximity to my family (especially my grandmother) and Cathy’s cousins live there; and one of her oldest friends have just told her they are going to live there.
  • Able to develop Pastoral Care of the Aged as a career direction.
  • Three congregations nearby where Cathy could worship and be able to find work
  • but if Cathy cannot find work, she may give attention to herself and our daughters.
  • Sunday responsibilities would be moderate, allowing me to worship with my family in their congregation occassionaly.
  • Safe environment for the children and Lutheran schools are nearby.
  • Time and room to walk the dog!
  • For that matter--time full stop: to read, study, pray (Divine Office with John?), to spend time with my wife and daughter.
  • A two million dollar, liturgically well appointed, “to die for” worship centre.
  • My President wants me to take a call.
  • Time now to leave Knox, I reckon (and Casey?)

I’m sure there are other reasons, but this will do for a start. In short, there is every human reason for accepting this call.

Here are the reasons I should not accept the call:

  • Separation of the children from their Godparents
  • Cathy’s dislocation
  • Cathy is not willing to go
  • Distance from Cathy’s family
  • We would not be able to do what we are doing now, leaving Maddy with Mama and Grandad for a whole day--may require day in childcare if Cathy works.
  • I would be going back to the very theologically divided SA Pastors Conference and a district president with whom I would find it difficult to work.
  • Not the time to leave Frankston (or Casey?)
  • Extended involvment with families would require travel all over Adelaide, and sometimes, with funerals, requires travel to country.
  • I’ve started a process, and received full episcopal assurances in connection with that process, here in Melbourne.
  • A move to Adelaide will mean that I will not be able to continue my preparation for reception into the Catholic Church in Melbourne Diocese.
  • I would be required to make my vows as a Lutheran pastor again.
  • It would be unjust to my new employers if I accepted the call on the false pretence of being a “Lutheran” pastor.

Those last four reasons are most significant.

I have been at this all day, and have to take a break now.

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