From Your Parish


Rev. Dierdre Thomson

In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.

Ephesians 1:11 Have you ever wondered, "What on earth am I here for?" Maybe not the best grammar, but you get the idea. "Why am I here?" The answer starts with God. Yes, believe it or not, it is not about you. As Rick Warren states in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, "If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born BY His purpose and FOR His purpose: It was not you who created yourself. It was God. You cannot, therefore, "tell yourself what you were created for!"

Have you ever asked someone for directions, and had him tell you, "You canít get there from here"? That is the way it is with your lifeís purpose. You cannot figure it out by focusing on yourself. You need to focus on God. "It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny." In other words, your reason for being here is not found in a "self-help" book. The only book that will help you in this quest is Godís Book. The rest of the opening scripture states, "Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone."

Ephesians 11:1 is telling us that we discover our purpose through our relationship with Christ. It also tells us that you were on His Mind. God thought of you "long before you ever thought of him. His purpose for your life predates your conception. He planned it before you existed, without your input!" God is working on a larger, more cosmic

design ó and you fit into it. You ask, "How can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?" By reading Godís Word, by prayer, and by reading Bible study helps such as Rick Warrenís book, The Purpose Driven Life.

For by Him all things were created things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him

and for him. Colossians 1:16

In His Service,

The Rev. Dierdre Thomson and Rev. Dr. Hugh MacKenzie

Link to Associate's Statement for May, 2004

Link Back to Events


The question, "What does the Parish Associate do?" sometimes comes up. Our Finance & Administration Chairperson suggested that I write a Newsletter information article for the congregation.

First, to help clarify the difference, the Parish Associate is NOT the Associate Pastor. Associate Pastor is a regular salaried pastoral position.

Second, the Parish Associate is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament who has a primary job elsewhere, may be retired from the pastorate, is not on salary, nor receives hourly wages. Depending on the church, the Parish Associate may receive an honorarium. "A Parish Associate is a minister who serves in some validated ministry other than the local parish ... but who wishes to maintain a relationship with a particular church ... in keeping with ordination to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament ... The Parish Associate shall be responsible to the pastor, as head of staff, on an 'as need, as available' basis and with or without remuneration." G-14.0515 Book of Order

As the Parish Associate, I sometimes preach (including children's sermons) and officiate at weddings, baptisms, and funerals. I attend Staff meetings and Session, and am pastoral representative to the Nominating Committee. I substitute teach, (including New Member Classes), for the Pastor when I am available. I am at the office various mornings or afternoons of the week as works out best with my primary job as Hospice Chaplain. I am at the office most Friday mornings when I am in town. I also fulfill my responsibility as an ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament to Presbytery Committees and attending workshops, seminars and the Stated Presbytery meetings. Community functions are Trustee of the Samaritan Center, and Clergy representative for Centra-State Hospital Community meetings.

The areas in which I am most involved as Parish Associate are counseling, bereavement, and visitation. Having completed Confirmand responsibilities, I am now working with the Deacons in preparing a presentation to Session and the congregation of the Stephen Ministry program of caring. We ask for your prayers and support.

While my primary job as recognized by Presbytery is that of Hospice Chaplain, and I easily average 10 - 15 hours a week serving Old Tennent, my involvement at Old Tennent under the direct supervision of the Pastor is also somewhat discretionary. I hope this helps you understand the role of the Parish Associate. It is a calling to seek God's will and to follow it. I look forward to continuing to be of service to God, and to Old Tennent Church.