Sympathy Stress

I’ve been feeling sympathy stress this week.  Many of my friends at the seminary are waiting for Vicarage Placement Service and Call Night next week.  I feel this stress for two reasons:  I remember how terrible I felt last year at this time and I know that a year from now I will be feeling just as stressed as my fourth-year friends.  While I’m looking forward to my husband getting a call (God willing), I am not looking forward to the wait.

To be clear, the climax of the waiting period is not the day before the service, nor is it the morning of the service.  The climax of the long wait for vicarage placement and a call is during the service.  Most of the students and their families have no idea where they will be going until the seminarian walks across the front of the church as his congregation is announced.  Of course, that is after sitting through an entire church service.  Consequently, this is what many of the students and their families only hear this inner monologue during the sermon:

Inevitably, the pastor opens his sermon saying that he knows that
we’re all anxious to hear our placement and calls, so he really should keep the sermon short.
25 MINUTES LATER, he finishes his “short” sermon. 

Please keep all of those receiving placements and calls next week in your prayers–it’s an exciting but emotional time at the seminary.

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