Tuesday was my first day of class. I had Intro to Old Testament in the afternoon. I got there a little early & sat talking with some of my classmates at a picnic table outside. Class was largely administrative stuff, going over the syllabus & such. We did get into the different kinds of translations a bit, though. After class, I talked to my prof (a UCC pastor) about possible placement at her church. She suggested I call the head pastor & tell him I'm one of her students.
Wednesday, I had Ministry Formation. We started out with the plenary session, mostly adminstrative again, but started with singing "Alleluia". My friend Laura, who is the prof, loves music. I heard some complaints about having to sing, but I thought it was a wonderful way to start. After the plenary, we met in our groups to discuss a practice we can do as a group. One fella suggested art/poetry/music together. Our group has a former band director who also does cake decorating, a violin player, a poet, me with my writing & altered art, and a photographer. Our facilitator is a sculptor. So, we may be doing some art. I suggested the practice of hospitality (which is in our book for class) & plan to cook for the group (although next week, I am taking them all bubbles). Our facilitator wants to teach us meditation. I am looking forward to that. She will be bringing a candle & a chime to class each week. She also said she's very interest in the gift God gave me, the gift of joy.
After we met in groups, I rode with Laura over to a church, in the neighborhood we'll be moving to, for the opening convocation & the installation of our new academic dean. It was a lovely service. It was kind of funny to see the faculty processing in wearing their hoods & caps & robes because three of the men look like wizards & all I could think of was Hogwarts. One of the wizards is the organist & he led us in call & response singing, with an absolutely glorious voice! After the service, the church provided us with lunch, which I thought was so kind. It was sandwiches & chips & ambrosia & all kinds of cream pies made by the Catholic ladies. Man, were they good!
I spent some time on the phone Wednesday afternoon trying to find a placement but only leaving a bunch of messages. Then, when Pie got home from school, I took him to choose a bike he likes. He found one, a red 20-incher, at Toys R Us. He said he'd rather have video games. Sigh.
Thursday was my class on the early church in the morning. Again, a great deal of administrative stuff to be dealt with. I like my prof. She seems like she's quite liberal. I met with her in the afternoon because she's also my academic adviser. She went to the University of Virginia & to Yale. She's brand-new to this area & looking forward to teaching grad students as opposed to freshman undergrads. We got talking about food & I found out that she's a vegan. She was talking about how many more vegan restaurants there are in Charlottesville & I said that the only thing I know about Charlottesville is what Rita Mae Brown writes in her books. She said, "I actually know Rita Mae Brown personally. I've been invited to hunt with her club." Amazing...not only does she know who she is, but she knows her. I didn't figure she'd even know who she is. Anyway, I think we'll get along quite well.
I spent Thursday afternoon dashing from interview to interview, all over campus. I interviewed with 3 Methodist churches (one was an interview by FIVE people...quite intimidating & I didn't feel it went at all well. The others were better), 1 UCC (very cool people, fun interview, too far from home), and the correctional facility (where I would very much like to be placed, but again, too far). I went home somewhat discouraged, but got a call back from the UCC pastor I had contacted before.
He is interested in having me come to the church & says that whatever areas I am interested in, he will get me working in. I am meeting him on Tuesday for Thai & to talk more about my placement. He had a student from the seminary last year, so he is familiar with the process. This church is a very liberal one. They also, somehow, manage to get some amazing speakers. Donna Red Wing is coming this month. Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, and John Dominic Crossan have all been there, too. Wow! They have a strong emphasis on social justice & there's a lot going on there. J liked it a lot when we attended service there a few weeks ago, so she's happy, too. Too bad it doesn't pay, but I think it will be much better than if I went with another place just because they do pay.
Thursday evening. we took Boot to get his dream bed, a full-size captain's bed with lots of storage space. Man, beds are not cheap! But, it will be good to use as a guest bed, too, when he has moved on to his own home. Then, we went to dinner at Los Mariachis with my grands & my great-uncle & his wife. They were visiting from Minnesota. I hadn't seen them since 1998, so it was so great to get to have dinner with them. It was funny to notice how much he & my grandmom resemble each other. He is a really nice guy & his wife is great, too. They've been together almost 10 years, but just got married last winter.
Yesterday was the first meeting of the women's circle at church since summer hiatus. Laura came & spoke about her trip to South Africa for the Truth & Reconciliation Conference last spring. It was really interesting & she played some South African music, too, which was gorgeous. I made spinach cheese squares for the lunch. I sat with my grandmom & Beth Baker, talking about gardening & food. Brendan had joined the group for lunch & was eavesdropping & injecting his own food comments. Laura had told me about the fabulous French restaurant they went to in Chicago over the weekend, but he revealed something more: he put the prawn heads on his fingers after eating the prawns...and made them dance around & sing! LOL! I told him about J popping the caviar across the plate at Maritana Grille. He has done the same. I guess he's not quite as bad of a food snob as I thought. Next month, the women's group will be going on a field trip to the National Afro-American Museum. That should be wonderful!