I”m in Portland, OR right now for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assemby (and the ministry days that precede it). One of my colleagues took this picture of me on the plane. There were a lot of my colleagues on the plane – although I was the only one in a collar. When I travel for ministry, I wear my collar. Mosst of my colleagues don’t, and many have asked me why I do. It’s a spiritual practice for me. So I thought I’d explain it too you. Or at least I’ll try to.
When I wear the collar I am reminded of who I am and whose I am and why I’m traveling. Although I can momentarily forget that I’m wearing it, in general, I knw it’s there. It’s a reminder to me that Im representing my profession and the church out loud. I tend to get cranky when I travel, but I really need to be mindful of how I’m perceived. And the bonus for me is, when I don’t allow myef to act cranky, I start to feel less cranky, too.
Then there’s the whole thing about the call. Gods call. God didn’t call me to ust be a minister inide th onfines of the church building that I serve. God didnt tell me to only use my prophetic voice from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. The call was to be chnged. The call was to ordained ministry – all the time. I know that I have colleagues who like to travel incognito. They don’t like to tell people what they do when they’re travelying because then they might get dreawn into conversations that they’d rather not have. I can resepct that. But it’s not who I am.
God called me to this ministry. At my orndiation I accepted the yoke of ministry, and it’s not something I can put on and take off for convenience. I am always The Rev. Madelyn Campbell. So I put myself out there. I wear the collar. I let people see me.
Now, I do also wear the collar for social witness, but I didnt want it to turn into the ministerieal version of a protet t-shirt, so I don’t only wear it for social witnes. I wear it whenever I need to be identified immediatey in the community Sometimes that means when I go to community meetings. Sometimes it means for special worship services in the community. nd for me, it doefinitey means when Im traveling for ministry.
So if you hppen to see me in the airport or the train station – feel free to engage me in conversation. It oesn’t haveee to beee about rellligion. But we can talk about that, too.
Thats all Ive got That’s my mite.