Wednesday Word: Ready and Willing to Do So
With those words, and others that followed, at approximately 12:15 MST, on this exact date 15 years ago, in the recently re-dedicated St. Peter's Cathedral in Helena, MT, I declared that I was willing and ready to follow through with my ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests.
In this vocation I have been privileged to serve in a variety of places. Raised up out of the Diocese of Spokane, attended seminary just outside the Chicago city limits, and called to serve the small congregations of Christ Church and St. Paul's (in Sheridan and Virginia City, Montana, respectively), I was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Spokane in June, and then ordained Priest by the Bishop of Montana on December 18, 2004. While there I served in a few roles at the diocesan level, was elected dean of our deanery, served on the volunteer fire department, and eventually had six congregations – two churches, one fire department, and three bars.
From there we moved to southwest Oregon where we had to learn to live “in the big city.” Grants Pass had more paved streets and stoplights than we had seen in over six years. The city was 50 times bigger than the total population of Sheridan. Grants Pass High School had more students in their music program than Sheridan had in their entire K-12 school system. I once again served at the diocesan level and brought a few new programs to that congregation.
And then this western boy found himself on the east coast, some 2500 miles and three time zones away from everything I had ever known. Although geographically different, I happily find myself working with many loving and dedicated people in a variety of ministries in a place that offers a different kind of beauty which I'm learning to appreciate.
I have a lot of memories from each of these times and places, some happy and some sad; but all of them have shaped me in ways I can't begin to number.
And, even though this has been my vocation, I am incredibly thankful that Joelene and Cece have agreed to follow along, and support me as we all participate in this adventure together. Because, honestly, without them, I wouldn't be here.
On this anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, I am thankful and blessed to be celebrating it with all of you in this place. As we continue moving forward in our ministry as a parish, as a family, and as friends, know that I continue to be willing and ready to do so.