Dear People of Christ Church,
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
When a friend asked me if he could put my name into the process in Upper South Carolina, we had no idea where it would take us, if anywhere. It was a practice of prayer, trust, surprise, begin again. Along the way, I met some incredible people and now a new journey begins.
In the Episcopal Church, every election of a bishop is consented to by a majority of bishops and standing committees of all of the dioceses in the church. They get letters, once certifications are gathered, the elected candidate accepts, and a series of steps are followed. Then they have to give their consents that are collected by the presiding bishop’s office, and nothing is official until they announce the results.
So we are in another period of waiting. It will take a few weeks, and in the meantime we go on doing the ministry of Knowing, Loving, and Serving Christ.
Canon Anita will meet with the Vestry soon, and they will begin to lay out a plan of transition together. I have been in conversation with her and the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Reddall who both have expressed love and care for Christ Church, and I trust them to work with the Vestry to find the way forward with the Shepherd leading.
You never know where you will get swept off to, but at least there is the next couple of bends in the road.
“As far as it depends on you, be at peace with one another.” – St. Paul
Be kind, outdo one another in showing honor, bear with one another. These exhortations from the New Testament are worth our attention right now. When there is stress in the system, things can get loud, fearful, and even aggressive. I used to yell at the trainers in track after competing in the quarter mile because I was so keyed up from the good stress of running. Luckily they were patient with me.
Even with good stress, these moments require us to be extra kind. Be generous with praise and stingy with criticism for a while, and build up this church we all love.
Two brief but important things: there is news here to be attentive to. We are in the middle of a new roof going onto the sanctuary. So watch for changes as you come and go from campus.
And, we are relaxing the mask mandate a little for the 10:30 am service. IF you are sitting or standing six feet away from others in church, you may remove your mask. Please wear your mask or one provided whenever you are moving about, especially through common areas.
I know that we have been stricter than some other places of worship, but we are following best practices and keeping our most vulnerable siblings safe. In particular, this strain has more devastating outcomes for children, so we are remaining careful and keeping up the policy for a little longer as numbers warrant.
Personally, I have been blessed to be your rector, and you still have to put up with me for a while longer. Let’s be in church together. Join classes. And serve Christ in those whom he loves.
The Very Rev. Daniel Paul Richards
Christ Church of the Ascension
Paradise Valley, Arizona