Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ELCA Draft Diary

It's finally here: the day we (I, my wife, most of the senior class, their families) find out where we'll be next year, and for the next chapter of our lives. Or, rather, we at least find out which broad swath of the continent our future parish may or may not be located in. Which is still... something.

It is indeed ELCA Regional Assignment Day, when 240 seminarians across the country are assigned to one of 9 geographical regions. I keep describing the process to friends and family as being like the NBA Draft, but shrouded in more mystery (and, for better or worse, more theological language).

With that analogy in mind, I thought I'd cover this momentous day by taking a page out of the Bill Simmons playbook and live-blog it, draft-diary-style.

6:00 a.m. CST: Alarm clock goes off, set to NPR’s coverage of yesterday’s local elections. I’m still half asleep, so the voices of WBEZ drift surreally in and out of my early morning dreams. Wait, have I really been assigned to Chicago’s 20th ward?!

6:27: No, no I have not. This is going to be a long day.

7:34: I make some coffee and check the Facebook. My news feed is full of seminary friends continuing their countdowns, expressing their hopes, and describing their attempts to calm their nerves. Supportive comments flood in (thanks, Adam!).

7:36: My mom sends me an encouraging email (thanks, Mom!).

8:14: I decide to keep calm and carry on. I will treat this as any other day, and not worry too much about it.

8:15: Like a kid who puts on shorts to bring about warm weather, I optimistically put on every piece of clothing I own that is in some way related to my desired region.

8:16: I think better of it and change my clothes. (But I put my Stanford hat back on.)

8:32: I walk to the library to write this blog and cue up my "Travel Well" playlist. Send me on my way, Rusted Root, send me on my way...

10:57: The LSTC community gathers for worship. Seniors check in with one another. "How are you doing?" we ask, in hushed, knowing tones.

11:49: We pray for the church, the world, and all those in need. It is a glorious relief to pray for others' needs instead of our own, if only for a few minutes. Thank God for worship.

1:27: I walk to my job at the U of C's after school program. Nothing like a few hours of Jenga and wall ball to take your mind off things...

5:23: I walk over to LSTC for a service of prayer. At the end of it, we'll receive our assignments.

5:55: The envelope is in hand! But my wife, Chris, is still at work. I'll wait until she gets home, sometime around 7, to open it.

6:50: REGION 2!

6:52: We make phone calls. Lots and lots of phone calls. :)

8:30: We head to the afterparty and see where everyone else is going! See the photo below for a graphical depiction of where LSTC-ers were assigned this year...


  1. "Thunder" Dan MarjerleFebruary 23, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    matt keadle - the bill simmons of the theo-blogging world.