Wednesday in Easter Week
I have found it very interesting that after a very short time here, what people want(ed) to know is if I am "happy" here, if I like Charlotte, if I "like" Saint John's. First, one must appreciate the very kindness behind the question itself. There is a hope that I do indeed like it here, that I am indeed settling in and that I am happy with Saint John's.
So let me share. I am contented. I am at peace. I am satisfied that I am where God wants me to be doing what God wants me to do among people God has selected for me as my community. My practice is to ask if I am being "faithful". If the answer is "yes" (mostly) I move on to happiness, which is not the objective but the fruit of faithfulness. And all of that said: I am very happy indeed!, Thank you.
I love Charlotte. It is a Southern town in the very best ways. The people are gracious and kind and polite - no matter where they are from originally. I think Charlotte brings that out in people. The town is lovely to behold, easy to get around in and has everything for which one could ask. There is much to do and see and learn. Most importantly there is a highschool baseball field right across the street from the parish (once the season begins, if there is a home game and you can't find me - look there.) The minor league field is but minutes from my house and the local radio station carries the Braves.
My son Tyler, is only about 90 minutes away and he has already been generous in traveling to Charlotte to spend time with me as his busy schedule permits.
My experience with the parish is very new. Folks seem to be responding well to our worship,preaching and teaching. We are finding our balance with respect to change. Saint John's is a healthy parish that is not in need of wide ranging or very deep change. What I do hope to offer is an enriched experience of the practice of the faith. My task to create a safe, exciting, formation rich environment of radical and ongoing - viral - if you will - invitation. There is ministry enough for every soul of the parish and if we are all faithful we can do much good work in the world in the name of Christ. I have found everyone to be kind and generous, patient and understanding. I work every day to be a better Rector than I was the day before. I love a life in Holy Orders and find that the tasks that thrilled me as a young priest still thrill me today.
Organizationally and structurally more changes are on the way as we learn together how best to do Church in this place. There are multiple committees and task forces hard at work on special projects ranging from "branding" to the formation of a Flower Guild.
In the weeks ahead we will begin to prepare the parish to re-invest financially so that we can live into the full ministry into which God calls Saint John's.
So - Yes, I am happy - very happy here. I believe that God has called us together at St.John's and the years ahead we will produce fruit worthy of that calling. I love St. John's and Charlotte and I am settling in nicely.
Back in about a week. Going to talk about "dust".