Yesterday afternoon, I returned early from a colleague group retreat. A parishioner who was both friend and leader to many here at Trinity and around the business and arts community passed away around noon on Monday. As I was driving back from the Cape, and passing through Newport, RI where I had been an assistant over a decade ago, I heard of his death from Debbie, our administrator. I stopped at Trinity, there, to pray for my parishioner, his wife and family and for our parish as we prepared to embrace this loss. It was the first time I had prayed in that church since my departure, though I had visited with friends in the not-to-distant past. It was a moment...soul, heart and mind were in both past and present. I have prayed for so many of the dead and dying. It is both something that is routine and freshly felt each time it happens. I experienced a certain holy sense of all those I had prayed over at that Trinity, but at that altar rail I felt such a powerful yearning to be back here in Solebury. Like a way-station, Trinity, Newport was there for prayer...but the destination was to be here, remembering this friend of ours. I sat next to him only two days before at a Men's Breakfast. I saw him before I left on retreat for prayers in the hospital...but now I just feel a missing place in my own heart. He was such a part of all of us.
Just a little while ago, I came across this letter from our PB (Presiding Bishop) for the Feast of Pentecost. The last few points remind me of our parishioner...particularly points 3 and 4. He was a person who met everyone's eyes, took their hand with respect and offered fellowship--whether you were a CEO, a janitor, a prince or a pauper. He was a man of principle who cared deeply for the fellowship of humanity that was the Church...and put his skills up every day in service to his Creator.
Wallace, RIE. You will be missed. I look forward to seeing you in the kingdom. We still have a lot to talk about.
The following is the Pentecost 2008 letter from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
In this season: Pentecost 2008 A Letter to The Episcopal Church
In this season: Pentecost 2008
A Letter to The Episcopal Church
My brothers and sisters in Christ,
As we come to the end of Eastertide and the feast of Pentecost, we shift to an awareness of God present with us in Holy Spirit. The
early church marked that gift as inspiration, fire, and language - the
breath of ever-new life and the burning desire for ongoing relationship
with God. That gift of Holy Spirit keeps us lively and moving, bears us into new territory and challenges unsought.
In this as in every age, we face issues of identity, vocation, and mission as members of the Body of Christ. Entering the long season of Pentecost brings our focus to how we, too, will follow Jesus inspired by Holy Spirit. I
would like to offer a few reminders about identity, vocation, and
mission that I shared recently with the people of the Diocese of San
1) Jesus is Lord. In
the same sense that early Christians proclaimed that Jesus, not Caesar,
is Lord, remember that no one else - not any hierarch, not any
ecclesiastical official, not any one of you - is Lord. We belong to God, whom we know in Jesus, and there is no other place where we find the ground of our identity.
2) We are all made in the image of God. Even
when we can’t see that image of God immediately, we are challenged to
keep searching for it, especially in those who may call us enemy.
3) In baptism we discover that we are meant to be for others, in the same way that God is for us. This
means that God’s mission must be the primary focus, not anything that
focuses on our own selves to the exclusion of neighbor. For when we miss the neighbor, we miss God.
4) None of us is alone. We cannot engage the fullness of God’s mission alone, nor know the fullness of God’s reality alone. Together as members of the Body of Christ, we can begin to try. And
the Spirit, burning fire, inspiring breath, and speaking in many
tongues, is present in that Body, empowering and emboldening and
strengthening our work. Thanks be to God who continually makes us new.
Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori
Katharine Jefferts Schori