Sunday, August 5, 2018

New beginnings

Today is the end of an era, as the Venerable takes her last service as an incumbent. Fittingly, the lessons were about violence against women (Bathsheba) and the ministry of making more with less. In their quietly supportive and thoughtful way, the parish called her up during the postlude for a laying on of hands.

I estimated this week that I have probably attended 1964(ish) church services in my (relatively short!) life. I think it's safe to say that almost everyone underestimates the fact that the parish priest is one of the roles most in the public eye in a community.

Over the years, I have listened to some of the best music ever, seen some of the worst liturgical dancing, skipped the lessons to grab a coffee at McDonald's across from the cathedral with my friend Marianne (the verger came outside to let us know when to get back in time for communion), seen a mentally ill individual do the Nazi salute in front of the cross, had the privilege to sing morning prayer (BCP) accompanied by a barrel organ in my heart's own country church in Rougemont, been pumped for info about my young single mother, witnessed fainting, heart attacks, and broken hips, heard hate speech and seen unspeakable petty cruelty, felt the boundless, deep love of those who tended the flame of my father's memory, made friends with a poet in a graveyard, learned about what happens with absolute power, watched true love blossom among two 80-somethings, observed the capacity for generosity take root in unexpected hearts, taught Sunday school in an attic, been a server, read lessons, avoided the altar guild at all costs, seen someone hide a teen pregnancy, burned myself on innumerable candles, crushed the patriarchy (but only a little bit), found peace, lost my patience, opened my own heart, and - above all else - protected those I love from the politics of it all, and learned from the grace of this woman.

P.S. I realised I am posting a few things on places like Facebook that I don't want to consign to the Zuckerberg dustbin, so I am re-posting (sorry to those who receive this twice!)


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