Dear people of St. Catherine’s,
We are in the midst of saying goodbye as I write. There are parties and luncheon celebrations, with laughter and tears. We are gathering around the table to share in the Body and Blood of Christ for the last time soon. I am making pastoral visits, trying to say goodbye in person to as many as possible, and organizing files to leave in the office and with the Sr. Warden – there are lots of “last” things with you.
It has been an honor to be with you in ministry as your Rector since October 2011. We have done much together in ministry, from new initiatives such as the Journey to Adulthood program for youth and our Fine Arts Summer Camp for elementary school children, to small group experiences and retreat days sharing our spiritual journeys together, to Lenten studies of Anglican/Episcopal Spiritual Practices and Benedictine Spirituality, to renovation of the cry room into a chapel with lay led Evening Prayer, to the creation of a Stewardship Committee and a Pastoral Care Ministry which have done marvelous work, to our participation in the interfaith organization HOPE, and much more. I have been honored to be present for parishioners’ transitions into eternal life, and to preside at many of our beloved parishioners’ funerals. I have baptized many of you with great joy, and celebrated a few weddings as well. I have presided at several Rite 13 ceremonies and sent three J2A groups off on pilgrimage (being a fellow pilgrim on two of these). We have shared the Bread and Wine, week after week, gathering around the Table, all recipients of God’s grace and love.
When a Rector leaves a congregation, she or he needs to make it clear what that means in a practical sense. I will not be available to baptize, marry, bury, or perform any other pastoral functions for any of you once I leave St. Catherine’s, including pastoral care. This is important because the next Rector needs to have space to form relationships without any previous Rector being present in any way in the life of the parish. (It’s a bit easier to keep these boundaries when the Rector moves out of state, as I will be doing). It has nothing to do with my feelings for you. I will miss you very much, and will continue to pray for you as I ask you to pray for me.
So in these next weeks of “last things” I pray that God’s grace will surround us and enable us to say goodbye well – celebrating all the good, letting go of all the difficult, and giving thanks to God for bringing us together in this parish for these 7 plus years.
THE HOLY EUCHARIST
Sunday 8:00 A.M. Rite I
HOLY EUCHARIST RITE II
Sunday 10:00 A.M.
CONTEMPLATIVE SUNG EVENING PRAYER
Second Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m.