So there I was, minding my own business at a regular Presbytery meeting, over a year ago, when Fran Fiddes turned to me and said, “Why don’t YOU run for Conference President?” Well, truth be told, I wasn’t exactly minding my own business. As Chair of Truro Presbytery at the time, I was in the process of chairing the meeting. We’d just had a presentation from David Hewitt, Conference Executive Secretary, and he’d mentioned that there were no applicants for Conference President at that time.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I’ve been in pastoral ministry for six years now; settled to Pugwash Pastoral Charge and still loving it there. I’ve spent some time chairing different committees and courts; have served as Pastoral Charge supervisor a couple of times; have tried hard to be a good minister to the people with whom I have the honour to live among. And I will work hard on behalf of the Conference, being its representative for the next year.
I’m helped in my pastoral ministry by a wonderful team of musicians, readers, a pastoral charge secretary, handy-people of all sorts, and ministry colleagues of all denominations in our small community. It also helps that I have some family close by. Although I’m an immigrant to Canada, I do have two daughters, their partners, and a granddaughter in Canada. One daughter, my son-in-law, and my granddaughter live in Pugwash. My other daughter and her partner live near Toronto. My partner, Stephen, is also a vital support for the work I do.
As I set about learning how to do the technical work of producing this blog, with many thanks to Janice MacLean in the Conference office, I thought about how much I love technology. Truly, I love it. I love the internet; I love the various cyber-ways I have of keeping in touch and up-to-date. I love knowing that with a few key strokes and the push of a few buttons, I can send messages around the world.
I love all of that, except, of course, when it doesn’t work. Because much as I love technology, it doesn’t always love me. I try to do something I’ve done a hundred times before, and nothing happens. I try to sync programs which I have been assured will cleave to each other like a parent and child, and they ignore each other. I turn on a program which has always opened sweetly in the past, and am faced with the Blue Screen of Death. Even as I type this, my laptop is doing its incredibly annoying *thing* where the cursor inexplicably jumps to a random point on the screen and starts inserting my words at that point. I have no idea why it does this. It has done this since I got the laptop five years ago. No other computer I have ever worked on has done such a thing, and it’s extremely annoying. Then I get frustrated, and frazzled. My patience in times of techno-chaos is limited in quality, quantity, and duration.
Techno-chaos is my reminder to slow down and consider what evidence of grace I might find in the moment. I think most people have something that pushes their buttons, and sends them into a tizzy. For me it’s technology. For another, it could be traffic, or check-out lines, or whining children, or taxes, or cooking, or sermon-writing, or yard work, or… well, you get the point. We have those moments when counting to ten might easily morph into counting to one hundred, before we get a grip on our better selves.
So where is the grace in my techno-chaos? Maybe it’s in the deliberate thankfulness that I could be experiencing, for the fact that the technology exists in the first place. Thankfulness for the people whose insight and imagination and know-how have brought us to an age of computers and smart phones and little miniature music-playing doo-dads (I think that’s the techno term). I am truly thankful for them. I am thankful that I have access to them. I am thankful that in time and with patience, I can learn to use them. They are a gift and a blessing, and for this I give thanks to God.
Now if only we had personal jet-packs…