Deans' Note July 31 2022
A week from this Sunday, the lectionary appoints a reading from the 11th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. In part it reads: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen... By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going." Next Sunday also marks the beginning of our last month with you in person at St. John's. These last weeks are busy with a lot of preparation. The book give-away this week is one sign as we cull our libraries in preparation for a move.
The community of St. John's has also been in preparation mode as your wardens, Erik Knutzen and Michael Tracy, begin to take on their new leadership roles. We are so blessed that these two leaders will help to steer St. John's forward in the days ahead. They will be the ones who will be here for you to answer questions and make sure St. John's operates smoothly along with the other members of the vestry, the staff and our assisting clergy. We also are blessed to have the amazing pastoral experience of our soon to be Bishop in Charge, Frank Brookhart who will lead the congregation pastorally. Bishop Frank is a thoughtful, gracious, and kind priest and bishop who will lead you through these next several months.
Of course, we are also looking forward to November 20 when we will return to St. Johns, toward the end of our sabbatical time, to celebrate with you the service of leave-taking from the congregation. The wisdom of our Episcopal tradition provides for marking this event with a special liturgy to formally hand over the leadership to your wardens and subsequently the interim priest who will follow Bishop Brookhart when we officially leave behind this community we have loved and cared for these 17 years.
We began this note with the reference to the Epistle to the Hebrews and the definition of faith as "the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." For all of us, the time ahead requires expectant faith assuring us that the future will indeed be filled with hope for all the new things God will be doing in your midst and in ours. Faith is the evidence of what God has in store. Abraham our father set out from the place of comfort and the familiar to step out into the unknown. So we and you will do the same. Please pray for us that the Holy Spirit will lead us into new and hopeful paths, as we will also pray for you. In the words of the famous Christian leader and Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold, “For all that has been, Thanks. To all that shall be, Yes.”