Eleven months ago, Mother Sarah (Coakley) began volunteering in our midst, leading our School of Theology & Prayer. She has offered us rich theological fare. She brought us wonderful theologians, not least of whom was Archbishop Rowan Williams. Mother Sarah's ministry is now moving in new directions and she will no longer be serving in our parish. I know that I speak for all of you that she leaves with our blessing and our deep appreciation for what she has accomplished.
Professor Ryan Danker of Wesley Theological Seminary will be guiding us this coming year in the area of formation. Ryan is a professor of Church History and is a friend of the parish with a deep appreciation for our spiritual and liturgical life. He has lectured at the parish on several occasions. He recently led our wonderful Vestry retreat.
By formation, I mean, as suggested, growth in faith through the pursuit of theological truth, something that we particularly value at ASA. Formation takes on many forms: lectures, conversational Bible Studies, food for thought via social media, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for our children.
Expect to see, in the next couple of weeks, a full lecture program for the year, with speakers from around the country and perhaps one or two from abroad! Let us all pray for a fruitful year of growth in faith.
Yours in Christ,
We had a wonderful Vestry retreat this past weekend, at the Claggett Center in Adamstown, Maryland. There were 11 of us (4 had to stay home, but they joined us via Zoom). We enjoyed prayer and fellowship, teaching and engaging, discerning conversation, and R&R. During our closing Mass, I shared a few thoughts on the gospel, the parable of the laborers of the “eleventh hour”, who get paid as much as those who labored all day. I share some of these thoughts with you.
There is an aspect of this parable, most encouraging, for those of us who arrive late—which, in one way or another, to one degree or another, is all of us! We are all paid the same thing: God’s unconditional, immeasurable gift of Himself. This same God also makes wonderful use of our labor—whether we are early or late. Think about the fact that we all meet and receive Christ in the Eucharist, no matter where we may be.
We are indeed all late in different ways: late to discovering Christ on the timeline of our life, late to awakening to His presence on any particular day because lost in our heads, late to calling upon Him because worry has overtaken us, late to being an instrument of His love for an-other because we are afraid of the other, later to the Vestry, late literally to Church, late in so many ways. Our lateness is not an impediment to Christ filling us with Himself and reigning in us and working through us. We simply need to say “yes” wherever we are.
If Christ loves us so unconditionally and immeasurably, pursues us with relentless tenderness, will meet us in any circumstances, wants nothing than for us to rest upon His breast like John at the Last Supper, then how can there not always be, at least, some measure of joy in our lives?
In the joy of God, with you,
From the desk of the Rector