After more than seven years in the parish I had never received a call to serve another congregation. Truth is I was not seeking a call - but I had not received one to consider. Then, curiously, I received two calls in a little over a month. One in September and one in October. As of this morning I have declined both. In both cases I declined not so much because I didn't want to go "there" but because I felt that I should stay here.
In going through the process I learned much. Below are some observations:
1. Having another parish call you to serve as their pastor is a most humbling experience. It makes you think - "Really? Me?"
2. It is encouraging to speak to other people in other parishes who love their parish and their Lord.
3. It is very healthy to face the prospect of moving on and consider the reasons to stay.
4. Facing a potential change is rejuvenating.
5. It is hard to tell a congregation you decline the call.