Sunday, April 28, 2013

250 years is not an inconsiderable amount of time....

Today I was a part of the 250th Anniversary of St. Andrew's Church in Northford. It is one of the churches in the Cluster and we canceled church at the other two and lots of folks from Emmanuel and St. James came to St. Andrew's.

All three of the presbyters--Molly and Bryan and me were there along with 4 former clergy in the Cluster and our Bishop and Tom Ely, the Bishop of Vermont, who  began his ordained ministry as the first clergy-person of the Cluster. Tom preached and Ian celebrated and it was a wondrous liturgy. We processed in to the first 2 verses of 'The Church's One Foundation' and after a prayer by Ian we processed out of the church to the new meditation garden created there to bless that and then back to the new front doors--painted red as they should be!--to bless them and then the whole congregation came back in singing "For all the Saints".

It was truly wondrous. I read the gospel and for the first time ever I took the book up to Ian to have him bless me...I usually shun such liturgical nonsense as having the bishop bless the gospel and its reader. But he made the sign of the cross on the book and then on my forehead and I didn't hear what he said because, for reasons I need to ponder, I was so moved by his action that I couldn't pay attention to his words.

Tom was ordained a priest at St. Andrew's--the only one ever in that quarter of a century ordained there--and his second daughter was born on his first Christmas Eve as an ordained person. So he was an incredible and just right choice to be the preacher. I told him afterwards that he was much too good a preacher to be a bishop.

He and Ann, his wife, met in southern West Virginia working at the Highland Educational Project in Northfork and Keystone and Welch. I actually worked at the same place the summer after my first of two years at Virginia Theological Seminary. I grew up about 12 miles from there. When connections like that get made, I always say, "Big world, small church..." which is true.

All in all a great way to spend a Sunday. How lovely and loving it was.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.