Tuesday, August 21, 2012

#46 in Austin

A gift from vicar number 44 Carolyn Albert
Even the chips have Texas pride!
Pack your cowboy hats and boots?  Not really, better to pack loose fitting clothing and ear plugs!  Although when we think of Texas, maybe we think about a big cowboy saying, "Howdy partner!"  But here, with the slogan being "Keep Austin Weird" I find out they have the most restaurants per capita and everywhere you look it seems you can find live music.  I am excited to take part in eatin some BBQ and finding that new band no one has ever heard of, and I am sure I will do my part to keep Austin weird, but I have a bigger job to do in Austin.  I am the 46th intern or vicar as they like to call me at First English Lutheran, and yesterday was my first day in the office.  I spent a majority of the time looking over paperwork for the coming year, finding out when I preach and what special responsibilities I may have throughout the year as the vicar (lead a talent show on Shrove Tuesday?!).  I was feeling a little daunted by the number 46 and worried about what I could ever do to be original.  I have never heard of a church so committed to the internship process and making it a ministry of their church for so long.  But after I realized how relaxed Austin is, I was able to see that First English was and is a place that could create great leaders, and all the while Austin cultured them at the same time.  I appreciate that opportunity and feel blessed to be on this journey with my supervisor, pastor at First English, and former vicar at First English as well, Mike Coffey.  Already showing support by taking me on a driving tour of Austin which included lunch at an Austin favorite, Mike has even had me over to his house and fed me his soon to be famous Hatch Chile (very popular down here) Queso!  I also was greeted in my apartment with a bag of Texas goodies from the vicar committee including some chips and salsa, but not to be out done by any other chips, the chips were shaped like Texas!  I feel lucky to have encountered such an amazing church built on such an amazing culture as Austin.  I hope to remember such lessons in hospitality in my own life and ministry here and wherever I go.

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