Annual Recorded Minister's report
2013 Recorded Minister’s report - Peggy Senger Parsons
It was a year of great change and expanded challenged for me. I started the year working with C. Wess Daniels(NWYM) and Kathy Hyzy (NPYM) on a weekend event called the Nursery of Truth. It was held in Camas Washington. It was a convergent event focused on bridge building and nurturing ministries. It was well attended and spiritually fruitful. I taught a workshop on Friends use of the Bible and preached the Sunday morning sermon. High times.
On February 4, I accepted a position as program coordinator, of High School Partnerships at Chemeketa Community College. I facilitate 9 programs on three campuses for marginalized and underprivileged youth who are not making it in the public schools. For the first term I did this more than full time job while finishing teaching three sections of Psychology. The first two months were exhausting. Since then I have found some sustainability and life balance, although the Quaker world has shrunk to Freedom Friends Church on Sunday mornings.
I closed a counseling practice of 20 years to take this position. I all but abandoned by blog, just as it went over 100,000 views.
In some faith communities going from Pastor and preacher to full time education administrator would be the end of your ministry career. I am grateful to God and Friends that the prevailing view is that I have taken my ministry focus into the field of education. My mission as a pastor and counselor was to preach good news to the poor, dress wounds and facilitate freedom. My mission has not changed a bit. We educate, we heal, and we facilitate social and economic freedom for the least of these. I feel that Jesus has given me a position in his diplomatic core. Embassy staff in a land of poverty and ignorance. It is very good ministry.
One practical application is supplying the girls bathroom in the GED building with feminine hygiene supplies. You cannot buy these products with food stamps. Girls really do go without. Friends at Freedom Friends have helped me with this. None of the girls know where they come from. One was heard to say “the tampon fairy has been here!” I also keep the trunk of my car full of used textbooks that I loan to students who cannot afford their books. I work with students with mental illness, depression, anxiety and autism. I am a fierce advocate for those who have been bullied. One of my favorite things about my job is that my boss appreciates my spiritual center. In an expulsion hearing, I can talk about grace and redemption and have it taken seriously. I don’t have to say Jesus’ name, I just do his work and stay connected to Him while I do it. I was asked to officiate at a wedding for one of my Russian Orthodox co-workers, who needed a legal ceremony after her church wedding. We closed the office and staff gathered around and we blessed a union. No one seemed to think that it was off the have the coordinator praying over this young couple. That day I did use Jesus’ name, and held my grandfather’s preaching Bible.
For Halloween, I dressed up as the staff exorcist. I spent the day giving the last rites to zombies and blessing the meek and casting out evil. More than one person said that it wasn’t really fair dressing up as your actual self.
As things lightened up for me, I started to write again. I have just this month sent to my editor a first draft of a narrative theology in a Quaker flavor, but written for the wider audience. It is the most transparent that I have ever been in my writing. This will be my fifth book. I expect that it will be published by summer. It does not have a title yet, but I am excited about it.
In November and December I served my beloved Alivia by producing her new CD. I also sang a little.
I continue to serve Freedom Friends as co-treasurer. This has not proven to be a burden. I attend to my self-care in many ways including 2 motorcycle-based spiritual retreats, and monthly sessions with a Spiritual Director.
I am glad to be part of a community of ministers.