A personal note concerning invitations to speak
I am now 82 and my husband is 87. Unfortunately, just as my invitations get more and more attractive, the circumstances of my life have changed. It is emotionally draining to turn so many of them down. Please, friends, if you are considering me for a speaking engagement, note the following restrictions which I am listing for your information. The purpose of this is 1) to eliminate the disappointment you may experience when I say no, and 2) to save me the mental effort of winnowing the possible from the impossible.
- I can and will continue to preach sermons, and I am looking for opportunities to teach the Bible.
- I will give precedence to occasions of addressing groups of clergy, theological students, ordinands, younger people in general. With what energy I have left, I feel that my messages can have the greatest long-term impact with these groups.
- I’ll go almost anywhere on a train! and am able to drive 2-3 hours if the route is more or less familiar.
- I don’t want to make any more airplane flights if I can avoid it (unless it is a first-class flight to Europe 🙂
- I will not be giving any more original academic lectures requiring intense study and preparation. I no longer have the psychic energy to do this type of presentation.
- I do not want to travel away from my husband more than two or three nights unless the circumstances are exceptional.
- I no longer speak at parish churches unless they are within a half-day’s drive (with certain exceptions—my sister’s church, for example, where I am well known).
- I hate to sound crass, but the size of the honorarium will sometimes make a difference at this stage of my life.
Thank you for understanding these limitations, which will apply from this date (3/22/2020). My assistant, Cynnie Thunem, will screen my invitations with a view to shielding me from having to say no to the ones that don’t apply. The time when I used to fulfil two or three speaking engagements per month is past! I miss those days!
Occasions for which I have long been scheduled will of course be met, assuming that the pandemic ends, in the mercy of God.
Faithfully, in the Name of Christ,
The Rev. Fleming Rutledge