One of the aspects of clergy life that is difficult to manage is learning how to worship when you are leading worship, or how to make time in a cramped schedule to have opportunities to worship. Especially during the season of Advent.
While clergy may proclaim the need to slow down and prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas, often it is done with our fingers crossed because everyone knows this is a busy time of the year. The hustle and bustle begins just before Thanksgiving, and many of our congregants (and ourselves) will not slow down until Christmas Day.
In an effort to make a slight change in the lives of clergy in the Shreveport District, Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City hosted a Clergy Christmas Eve service on Dec. 22.
The purpose of the service was to give clergy-particularly those with congregational leadership roles-the chance to have a Christmas Eve service with their families, and not have to lead the service. The service itself was based upon a children's Christmas Eve service, taking the form of “lessons and carols.” Four generations of the McClain family (Revs. Chris and Bill) lit the Christ candle, and music was led by Adam Philley, Marci Ratcliff and Rueben Reyes, all members of the Asbury UMC music staff. The lessons were read by a variety of clergy, ministers and those “in process”- Rev. Don Webb, Rachel Scott (diaconal minister), Rev. Lindy Broderick (RIM #3), Susan Dungan and Matt Burroughs (both certified candidates.) Shreveport District Superintendent Rev. Ken Irby presided at communion with the assistance of Rev. Mimi McDowell. Rev. Irby is recuperating from recent shoulder surgery.
Following the brief service, a soup luncheon was served in fellowship hall, and participants took time to slow down and enjoy the holy moment together.