Looking back and moving forward . . . It is no easy thing to leave a place where I have learned so much and been loved and supported by so many. When I arrived as a student here in October 2014, I had no idea what a huge part the people, worship and time here would contribute to my life with God. It is fair to say that on arrival I could barely do up the buttons of my cassock straight, let alone imagine myself celebrating my first Mass here.
Here are some of the highlights: working with Fr Mark, Fr Matthew, Fr Kevin and Deacon Joyce; the Heart of the City Festival each year; the Inclusion event with the Liturgists; getting out into the community, meeting our neighbours, walking the streets and attending meetings and protests. Attending the reconciliation feast in 2017 gave me new perspectives on social justice and the need for reconciliation.
Tara and I had our marriage blessing here. Over 180 people came to witness and celebrate with us. We were both overwhelmed by the love and support we felt that day. Relationships, witness, and the love of God. Oh . . . and cake!
Formation sessions have challenged me to live out my faith in new ways. I have learned to get comfortable with not having all the answers – and not having to – while your priest.
The choir and music are amazing, the hospitality and welcome is generous and compassionate, all the behind the scenes action in the guilds and in the office is an incredible cat wrangling miracle! The Spirit of God is at work in all its glory every day in you and in this place.
I am grateful for all you have done to encourage and shape me along the way. I am heartened to see ministries like Open Church becoming lay led, and am proud of what we have achieved through the Parish Development Grant, and the communications project. St. James’ will always have a special place in my heart, and I will continue to hold the people in this community and neighbourhood in my prayers.
With my thanksgivings, love and blessing,
From “Five Years in Review”, Pax, Advent 2019