Fundraising

So what's the deal with all of the fundraising? It's a long story, so have some tea and put your feet up.

Six years ago I was recovering from cancer and had a number of medical issues that resulted from actually surviving cancer treatment. The big one was some damage that was done to the 'plumbing' of one of my kidneys that basically caused me to grow kidney stones like crazy but was unable to pass them. If you have ever had a kidney stone, you don't have to imagine the kind of pain that causes! Surgery was the only way to get rid of the stones, and I went through three years of developing stones, having them removed, and recovering from the process just about in time for it to start all over again.

I had gone through several years where my spiritual life suffered as much as my physical life did, and I spent a lot of time being very angry with God. I had reached my tolerance of having surgery every six-to-nine months, and I and my doctors decided that the only feasible way to resolve the kidney stone problem was to remove the kidney. I was in tremendous pain, feeling hopeless that life was ever going to be any better, and was pretty sure that I was not going to survive having my kidney removed. I felt like I needed to set things right with God, and sought out the priest at a little Episcopal church that was on the corner, down the street from where I lived.

After a very long conversation with the priest, he took me over to the church and anointed me for healing. It was in that anointing that a call to ordained ministry was re-awakened in me. I had felt called in my early 20s but ran like crazy, being completely unfamiliar with any women who were pastors. This time, I fussed and fought with God about it, not really thrilled with the idea of a career change, and God help me, I did not want to go back to graduate school. I already had a doctorate and was perfectly happy in my profession as a psychologist. I have to say though, God can be quite a nag, and it was clear to me that I could say no again, as long as it was an honest no, but sitting on the  fence and arguing about it was only going to result in repeated sleeve tugging until I gave an honest answer.

The problem was, the priest who brought me into my new-found home retired a few months later, and I found myself trying to answer a call with no one to guide me. The Episcopal church has a formal process that priest/deacon aspirants go through to be 'vetted' and trained for ordination, and it requires having a permanent priest assigned at that person's home church. The following months were sheer spiritual agony and I was certain I was going to explode. My sense of being called only grew stronger, and I had nothing to do with all of that energy. I sought out the advice of my local bishop and she suggested that I go to seminary to "stick my toe in" the waters of a theological education. As soon as that door was opened, I knew I had to walk through it (or more like fly through at warp 9), and three weeks later, the dean of ETSC welcomed me to seminary.

Since I have opted to start school before finishing the formal process, I am not yet a postulant. Since I am not attending school under the auspices of the diocese, I have no access to financial aid. Cancer isn't cheap, and neither is seminary. I don't have the financial resources to pay for school all on my own (it's close to $5,000 per semester for tuition, books and other expenses). A number of friends who wanted to be able to contribute to my education, convinced me to start a crowd fundraising account. So was born my association with with gofundme.  

I invite you to join with me on this journey, in dollars, prayers, and emotional support. Contributions to my tuition fund are always welcome, and there is no donation that is too small. 100% of funds received (minus gofundme's cut) go toward tuition, books, and other expenses directly related to school.

Another way I raise funds is making rosaries that I sell online through my Etsy store, Telling of the Beads. I make Anglican and Roman Catholic rosaries using jasper, agate and other semi-precious stones, and I sell canvas finger labyrinths.

Your prayers, a note of encouragement, jokes, or sharing stories from your own spiritual journeys are as good as gold and are always welcome. 

I look at fundraising as an opportunity for me to live into the trust that if God is calling me to serve the church, a path will be made for that to happen. Will you be part of that path?

Links to Telling of the Beads and gofundme are on the right hand side of this blog. Please spread the word.

-Rae