I am finally and completely ordainable. I passed my final, floor examination by the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean early this afternoon. We will have an ordination service at the Kirk of the Pines Friday Evening, March 19th.
In February 2015, I started to look for seminaries to help me be a better worship leader. Eventually, I was led to the brand-new hybrid program at Reformed Theological Seminary - Orlando. I took 4.5 years to get my MDiv, and during that process felt God calling us to church-planting, cross-cultural, and family ministries. Providentially, we were led to work with the Caribbean Youth Network, and the Kirk of the Pines, which is a plant in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas.
After 6 years of study, between seminary classes, and ordination exams, I am slightly concerned. I've spent most nights in my rocking chair, reading, writing, and Quizleting. I'm not sure what evenings will look like now.
I do need to take some time to thank those involved. When I first considered seminary, I was looking at an MAR (a 60 credit degree). Doug Rehberg told me that I should go after the 106 credit MDiv, to which I begrudgingly agreed. The Session of Hebron supported me prayerfully and financially. They appointed my buddy Geoff Gehring to keep them updated on my progress. Geoff has been one of my biggest supporters, and encouragers.
Not long into my MDiv program it became apparent that God was calling me to ordination. Knowing I would need to interact with a Presbytery I felt called to the EPC. This is where Josh Brown (whom my kids call "best friend Josh"), a great childhood friend, stepped in. He and I talked about Bellefield taking me as a candidate, as I could attend evening worship at Bellefield, and still lead worship in the mornings at Hebron. Both Hebron's and Bellefield's sessions agreed and were on board.
On February 17th, 2018, I went under care at the Presbytery of the Alleghenies. Nate Devlin, a college friend of my brother, was assigned as a mentor for me, and Bruce Tenenbaum, the head of the candidate's committee proved incredibly encouraging. Eventually, when my membership was transferred to Kirk of the Pines, Doug Dempsey from Brookville, FL, Case Thorp & Mike Glodo from Orlando, coached and encouraged me for my exams.
As complicated as all of that sounds, it got more complicated, but it's now over. To the names mentioned above. Thank you. Thank you, also to Jerry, Katrina, Gordon, Ruth Anne, Matty G, Keith, JB, Chris, Sean, Ben, Gab, Jill, Steve, Jess, Greg, Beth, Rob, Heather, Ian, Richard, Rhonda, Sarah, our sending team.
To those who weren't mentioned, our supporters, (financial and prayerful): Thank you. God is using you here in Abaco.
Lastly, the common thread throughout this whole story (other than the Holy Spirit) is Carrie and the kids. When I committed to seminary, I was very worried about my relationship with my kids. I would often say "I'm going into this at a time when my kids still like me, and when I'm done, the girls will be teenagers." That happened. Somehow, I managed to maintain a great relationship with my kids. Under Carrie's leadership, we all walked a thin line between maintaining relationship and failing school and ords. Honestly, Carrie is the best. My kids are the best. And now we can go put our best forward to reaching this island for Jesus.