During the month of November, a variety of voices from around our Conference will be sharing the weekly Let’s Talk column around a thematic focus of gratitude. This week’s columnist is the Rev. Penny Phillips, Committee on Ministry, Section B co-chairperson.
Be still, (and be quiet and listen) and know that I am God.
Who knew that listening would be such an exhausting task and take so much energy, both physical and mental? And might I add, spiritual? Who knew? If any of us had known this, we might have taken a very different life path. In my participation with COM-B, it is about listening, listening with every particle of my body, mind and spirit. And what’s really interesting, I value it and at the end of our meeting day, it gives me energy. I am inspired by my colleagues in their many different work settings. I am in awe of how the Holy Spirit works in their lives (even though it is often difficult to see or feel) and I am grateful to be reminded that I am a part of this Conference’s wide ministry.
Often the minister enters the Zoom room a bit nervous, maybe a little shaky as they expect a “strict” review of their ministerial performance. That is not what we are about. In our time together with the interviewee, we hope we convey “you are not alone”. We are together in ministry and we are connected. Our role is not to solve everybody’s problems (that would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?) but we are there to support and encourage and strengthen one’s own inner resources.
Listening is a valued skill that simply doesn’t get enough attention in our culture today. We value the articulate, charismatic public speaker; that is all well and good. And yet, what we all treasure is a person who will listen to us, and hear us, with patience and grace. That is a primary role of COM-B and we are honored to provide that setting for our Conference clergy. Most often, following their interview with COM-B, the clergy will express deep appreciation for the time spent with us. “You listened, and it was such a gift to me.”
And a gift to us, as well.