I hope the changing of the seasons is delightful to you! The change from summer to fall is one of the things I miss the most about being away from Utah. Here in California, the weather is fairly constant and the color changes are not as impressive as they are in Utah. With the change of seasons, I would like to share with you some details of events that are taking place in my life.
As you know, I left Utah for California about a month ago. It has been an extremely busy month! I am continuing in my role as Head Sacristan at CDSP. In the seminary world, Head Sacristan is a fairly prestigious position with many honors and many responsibilities. In seminary speak, Head Sacristan is often seen as a role ranking even higher than student body president at other institutions of higher learning. I'm honored to have earned the trust of the community and I am humbled by the responsibilities that the job requires. I spend many hours teaching, preparing, and in many ways, pastoring to other students. It is certainly a challenge to juggle Sacristan duties with school work. However, I have learned a great deal about leadership, worship, and administration by taking on this role.
I am continuing my weight loss journey, although it has not been easy. I have lost ten pounds since returning to Berkeley, yet I have a long way to go to reach a healthy weight. To date, my total weight loss is 73 pounds. If I am able to reach a healthy weight by the end of the calendar year, I will be accepted into the United States Navy's Chaplain Candidate program. As a Chaplain Candidate, I would gain helpful experience by working side by side with active duty Navy chaplains. It is a tremendous opportunity. Both Bishop Scott Hayashi and Bishop Jay Magness (the Episcopal Bishop of the U. S. Armed Services) have given me their ecclesiastical support in this venture. Now it is up to the Navy to accept me, which they will do if I meet their height and weight standards. This is a very exciting opportunity!
This semester, I am taking courses in Christian Ethics, Christian Education, Liturgics, and Pastoral Care. I have a very full schedule with very challenging courses. I would go as far as to say that this is my most challenging and stressful course load I have yet seen. This is probably amplified by the whirlwind of activities, deadlines, meetings, and commitments which come as part of a seminarian's senior year of studies. I am preparing to take General Ordination Exams in January of this year, and there is a weekly seminar for preparation every Wednesday. I am also preparing to preach my required senior sermon (by the time you read this, it will have been finished. I am scheduled to preach on Sept. 29, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.).
Overall, my studies and preparation are going well. I am learning to navigate the uncertainties and the unexpected obstacles that seem to appear and to take care of myself as best I can. If I am unable to take care of myself properly, then I am unable to give appropriate energy to studying and to ministering to the people of God. I have learned that this is a very important area of focus for virtually everyone in the ministry. I will continue to keep you posted of my progress this year. I am hopeful to be made a candidate for Holy Orders very soon and to be ordained as a transitional deacon at some point within the next three to eight months. Please know that you are all in my prayers and I very much appreciate the support I receive from the wonderful people of St. Mary's. Seminary is quite the journey, and with your support and prayers, I just might make it after all!
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