My dear friends,
Farewells and partings are opportunities filled with challenges and yes sadness.
You have been so welcoming, patient and loving since that day I walked into the building. We have grown as the body of Christ – in numbers and in our faith. And we have grown in the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22-23)
The Spirit moves in mysterious ways. Over the three years we have had a confirmation class of six new members, twelve baptisms, four weddings, one renewal of vows and numerous funerals. At our funerals we have remembered the “cloud of witnesses” who were part of the fabric of this community.
I have witnessed your generosity and kindness in serving those in need with the Food Shelf, Open Arms, Lesley, Evelyn and Freddie our Guatemalan students, Mary Sherwood’s Madagascar ministry and Bliss Gillmor. And there were the quieter ministries: a family or individual who knocks at the front door, asking for help. Or a parishioner who comes forward and asks how to best walk alongside another individual who is hurting. Or the visitor -though a little unusual in appearance - is ushered into the sanctuary, and for a while she/he breathes and finds some peace in the worship.
I have witnessed your faithfulness, “self-control” and perseverance to stick together as a community with difficult discussion topics. Two topics were: same sex marriages and coffee hour each with its tangle of questions, concerns and consequences. Most evident in these gatherings was the respectful tone of expressing differences of opinions. Difficult topics are opportunities to reflect on how the Spirit is at work within us. I am grateful for the fruits of your reflections.
I have witnessed so much joy, creativity and love in fundraisers! In my first year, it seemed every week we were eating out again in the David Johnson Parish Hall! There were the bazaars that had a different theme twice a year with a flash mob that rivaled any mob in town. The Musical Adventure and the Dinner Auction – yes, it will happen again – created a bond amongst the Anglican churches in the area. Who would have thought the Primate would come to town! This faithful community grew in numbers as well in Spirit.
In this congregation, in this body of Christ, it has been incredible to witness the fruits of the Spirit grow, endure through COVID and flourish.
The strength of this body is its richness in its diversity. The diversity is seen in ages of members, socio-economic status, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
I will miss you all. I am most grateful for all you have taught me. It has been a delight and privilege being your incumbent these past three years.
Gratitude and thanks to everyone.
Your sister in Christ,