Exactly ten years ago on this day, I was ordained to the priesthood at the parish of Christ Church, New Haven, Connecticut. Like any birthday or anniversary, it always feels like a milestone to remember my ordination and the path that it has led me on. And ten years feels extra special. I was 26 years old, just about as young as one can be for priestly ordination. I began my ministry at the parish where I was ordained in New Haven, learning the ways of the Liturgy and pastoral care. After two years of serving Christ Church, Meredith and I were called to St. Michael's Cathedral in Boise, Idaho, where I served as the Canon Pastor for five years. And in 2012, the Vestry of Church of the Ascension called me here. Reflecting back on these ten years, there is no other place I would rather be.
The priesthood is a strange and wondrous vocation. I have been at the deathbeds of so many beloved souls. I have presided over countless weddings, funerals, and baptisms. I have been with people in their darkest hours, and their times of greatest joy. I am weekly blessed to preside over Holy Communion and share in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus with the parish family. And I am privileged with the responsibility of preaching the Gospel from my heart, mind, and soul.
When a priest is called to a new church, there is a formal letter of institution that comes from the Bishop. And there are words in this letter that I strive to live by every day...I have them framed and the live on my desk in the parish office:
Having committed yourself to this work, do not forget the trust of those
who have chosen you. Care alike for young and old, strong and weak,
rich and poor. By your words, and in your life, proclaim the Gospel. Love
and serve Christ's people. Nourish them, and strengthen them to glorify
God in this life and in the life to come.
This July, Meredith and I will mark four years serving at Church of the Ascension. It has been, and continues to be, one of our life's greatest joys and privileges. Our parish is stronger and healthier than ever. Lives are changed here. Christ is encountered not only in worship, but in one another. We continue to nurture our children and our youth, preparing them with a loving community and nurturing the faith they need in this complex and sometimes scary world. I pray daily that I may continue to be the priest you have called me to be. And I am grateful for the love, warmth, diversity, and faithfulness of the people of this parish. As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the joy of Easter in just two short weeks, let's all remember to give thanks for our beloved parish home, Church of the Ascension.
Faithfully and joyfully in Christ,