This is Canon Victoria’s letter in our weekly Parish News email. To sign up for our newsletter, please visit: Constant Contact. To see the full weekly Parish News email from Sept 23rd, please visit: http://conta.cc/2dpsP8j
“You just arrived as our rector! Why are you going away?”
A year ago, I had agreed to participate in the Golden Jubilee of the Anglican Center in Rome. Before the vestry issued me a call to be your rector, I told them of the trip, and they agreed that I might keep my plans. Of course, now I feel conflicted—just as that I am getting to know you, I am leaving town. I am looking already to be back with you, having represented Redeemer in Rome.
Why am I going? I care passionately about Christian unity. As a young priest, I participated in ecumenical relationships with the Roman Catholic Church. The bishop assigned me to a diocesan task force to study and answer to the Lutheran, Anglican and Roman Catholic document,Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry. While I lived in Italy, I was invited by the local Roman Catholic diocesan clergy to be part of ecumenical meetings both in Vicenza, Italy and in Venice. I once preached before the Archbishop of Venice in the ancient Franciscan monastery (founded 1253!) in Venice.
Our Lord Christ prayed for the unity of the church at the Last Supper (John 17:22-23). Fulfilling Christ’s prayer is a long game. In the last seventy years, Episcopalians and Anglicans have often been leaders in bringing different denominations to the point of sharing communion, recognizing pastoral orders and doing ministry together. We still have work to do with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. Christians hoping for that unity have to commit to walk together. We know there are disagreements; we also know our source of unity is Christ.
For two days before the Jubilee, I am attending a writers’ gathering organized by the Living Church magazine. During the Jubilee conference, the program will be several lectures, formal and informal dialogues, two Evening Prayer services with both the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis in leadership. The Archbishop and the Pope will end the Jubilee celebration by commissioning pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops to work across the world on joint projects.
I leave next Wednesday and will return October 8. I will miss one Sunday, October 2, but the Reverend Canon David Petrash will be here for both services to preach and celebrate. Please show up in force for Canon Petrash.
During my absence, if you have a pastoral emergency and need a priest, please call JoAnn Howes at the office during the day at 972-255-4171 or text the Senior Warden, Roger Hogle. They will contact Fr. Steele and Fr. Corley. Both are available for emergencies. There will be several parishioners, trained in pastoral care available to assist as well. See you this Sunday!
We are so joyful and grateful for you to have had this once-in-a-lifetime experience, VIctoria, and we look forward to learning more about what you saw and heard and felt and thought and learned as you unfold your stories to us in the days/months to come. Your climb down into the hidden layers of history beneath the old church floor in your 10/09 sermon was a tantalizing preview!
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