Jesus says, “I will not leave you orphaned” (John 14:18)
My dear friends, I want to thank you so much for your love and support during the past two weeks while I’ve been on leave. Your cards and messages of encouragement have been really touching. And it has been a “good” time away - I don’t know if “good” is the right word for it, but it has been healing, uplifting, restoring... it has been many good things, though I’d rather the circumstances were different.
Thank you for so graciously giving me this time to do my “heart work”. I have spent time almost every day out in the foothills, being restored by the fresh air and the beauty of God’s Creation. I have spent a lot of time in prayer. I have done a lot of work with my personal coach and counsellor, facing into the headwinds of grief and our complicated family history. I have learned some new and important self-care practices. And I have been loved-up by my friends, mentors and clergy colleagues.
All of this means that I am returning to our beautiful community more deeply rooted in faith, stronger in my relationship with God and with myself, further along in my own journey of healing and growth, and reinvigorated for our journey together. And so while the circumstances have been hard, the light has shone brightly in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I am looking forward to being back with you - I love my work among you, and I love being part of this community. And yet I want to be wise. I want to make space for the new learnings of the past few weeks to take root and grow strong. If I jump back in too enthusiastically, I’ll forget my new habits and default to the old ones - and I want to grow forward! So with the Wardens’ support, I’m going to ease my way back in to parish life. This week I’m working from home, and I’ll be keeping limited hours. Also I’ll be making changes about how I handle my email. These changes aren’t because I want to push you away, but for me to find a more healthy way to go forward with you together - which is what I want.
Jesus said to us, “I will not leave you orphaned” - and he hasn’t. One of the clearest ways we see this is in the support of others around us. Many people have been involved in supporting us all during this time - and I’m especially grateful to Rev. Pilar who has been at the heart of that support. But meanwhile we’re moving swiftly toward our big service on July 8: Grady, Andrew and Wendy are being Confirmed and we’re having our Stampede Breakfast. So many people have been at work bringing that event together!
It has been a beautiful thing to know, while I’ve been away, that everything is in the hands of wonderful, dedicated, organized people who are committed to making July 8 a success for St. George’s. Sola and Kirk have been on the forefront of inviting “lapsed” parishioners and the wider community to come celebrate with us. The musicians are working diligently away making sure that there’s awesome music both for the service and the breakfast afterward. Ron Standish, along with Anne Coul and a team of volunteers, are making everything ready to feed a crowd. And behind it all, our wonderful Parish Administrator, Barbara Labrecque is masterminding all the details. And I know there are many, many other volunteers who are pulling together, drawing St. George’s onward. Bless you for your enthusiasm and dedication!
No, friends, we are not orphaned: Jesus is present in our midst, strengthening us to support one another and pull together as a team!
So together we go forward: healing, strengthening, growing, and burning ever more brightly with the fire of God’s love.
With deep gratitude and looking forward to being with you again,