What do you do?
Arguably, bi-vocational ministry is on the leading edge of what ministry looks like now. I am deep in it. I serve as the Manager of Spiritual Care Services at Pathways Home Health and Hospice, the second largest home health and hospice agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am also the called pastor of First Congregational Church of San Francisco, United Church of Christ. Both of these calls are complex and demanding, and serving both well has necessitated a set of skills beyond the requirements of the vocations themselves. At Pathways, I supervise a staff of chaplains who serve patients who reflect the stark income inequality that one finds in an area that reaches from the Silicon Valley to Oakland, from San Jose to San Francisco. One aspect of my work is to support resilience and carry the mission of care within our agency in the face of a stressful and dysfunctional healthcare environment. I’ve also kept a small caseload, primarily our pediatric hospice service. Doing “the work” of hospice grounds my practice and is essential in sustaining my faith journey. When I started at First Congregational Church of San Francisco four years ago, it wasn’t clear to any of us what God was calling this congregation to do. Before I arrived, the congregation had sold its historic building to relocate, but they had not decided where they would go. Eventually, they found a place on the edge of the Tenderloin district where they would build. I had visited them during this “wilderness” experience, and I was aware that this congregation had to grapple with uncertainty and the fear of dying—even after they moved into their beautiful new sanctuary. But this small congregation has a vision of becoming a community center even as it honors its past with the knowledge that the future will look very different than the “glory days.” We’ve partnered with MCC San Francisco, who are now our “roommates.” We are taking care of one another and are becoming far more active in service in the world.