Our Cross Shaped Calling: Staff Update

Guest SpeakerCliffNotes

Today’s CliffNotes was written by Claire Ratliff, Small Groups Pastor.

Dear Christ Church,

A couple of weeks ago I was able to attend a short summer course with NT Wright on Romans 5-8.  At 73, Wright’s pace and complexity of thought show no signs of slowing and by the end of the course my right hand showed every sign of having aged several years from furiously scribbling down insight after insight.  One overarching theme was that of Christian vocation.  Wright reminded us that God calls each of us into the messy places of life where the world is in pain.  As we travel there, we realize our path to be one that is cross-shaped—holding on to the pain of the world in one outstretched hand and the enduring, winning love of God in the other.  It is in God’s spirit and in humble prayer—yes, even wordless groaning—that we find our life’s work of making known God’s love and redemption here and now.

Wright’s course held a timely word for me as I was nearing the end of a season of vocational discernment.  As many of you know, I am expecting my third daughter in a few short weeks!  Early in my pregnancy I felt an increasing desire and call to be more present with my children and “shepherd my home flock” to a greater measure in these early, formative years.  Months of prayer, discernment, and conversations have led me to step down as Small Group Pastor and step into a smaller pastoral role on staff.

When I return from my maternity leave, likely in mid-October, I will return as Christ Church’s Care Pastor! 

I am so glad to continue supporting our church’s healing and care ministries as the new Care Pastor.  We are a church that holds pain and suffering well.  We know deeply Jesus’ compassion as He who “suffers with”, and extend it to one another in life’s most difficult seasons.  Simultaneously, we are also a church that knows and extends to each other God’s healing and redemption.  In short, you, Christ Church, are right in the middle of the Christian vocation and it’s a privilege to continue to serve you in this new capacity.  As Care Pastor I will serve and oversee ministries such as our Prayer Ministry, Stephen ministry, Lay Eucharistic Ministry, Living Waters, Alpha Marriage, and more.

It has been a joy and honor being our parish’s Small Group Pastor these past two and a half years.  I have loved carrying the vision of small groups that in our church, truly No One Stands Alone.  Most of all I have loved getting to witness up close the joyful love, commitment, and tender care that exist in our small groups, led by our amazing, servant-hearted small group leaders.

Finally, I’m excited to announce that we will very soon be seeking to hire a full-time Small Groups Pastor!  A job description and more details will be shared in the next couple of weeks.

I covet your prayers in the coming days as we prepare to welcome our third daughter.  Thank you for extending goodness and care to me and my family in this season of life.

Peace,

Claire