One of my favorite classes in seminary was African-American spirituality. I loved that class because it opened new worlds to me. In one of the early sessions, we talked about the African roots of African-American religion. I learned a phrase that has shaped my consciousness both of my priesthood and of the role community plays in all our lives. "I am because we are." I know that to be true on so many levels, but especially as a priest formed by the two communities I currently serve-Live at Five and Sundays at St. Martin's. But I'd twist that phrase up just a little: "We are because we are."
Together we have woven one another into an ever-changing but yet durable tapestry. I joined you as your lead priest in 2011, but I was already a member of the congregation. Early in our time together, we spent a day taking soundings of our community-who we had been, who we were at the moment and where we heard the spirit calling us to go. Together we set out a dream for our emerging community.
We know the healing power of laughter just as we know that it is often through relationships that we draw closer to the part of God in one another and to God herself.
The Spirit has led us into ways we didn't even imagine three years ago. And even now the Spirit is leading us on new paths-some that we will walk together and some that will diverge. Live at Five is ready to move even more fully into a lay led and clergy served community. And I am ready to cut back on my involvement with Live at Five. Though I will continue as priest and pastor in the Live at Five community, I will only be leading worship one Sunday a month beginning in June. Rev. Kristin will also lead worship one Sunday a month and, on the third Sunday of the month we will have a guest presider-a priest we know well and one who knows and loves us too! As is becoming our custom, we will hold Compline one Sunday a month and, in those four months each year when there are five Sundays, we will hold Evening Prayer with a sermon on the fifth Sunday of the month. We will hire a lay coordinator for our worshipping community and we will have plenty of support from the Vestry and from the Diocese. Your governing group (Council and Worship Committee), your Vestry members and I are all excited about where the Spirit is leading our community. We've come a long way, and we've only just begun!
I do so love you and I look forward to worshipping with Live at Five as a member of the congregation on the Sundays when I'm not leading worship. And I also look forward to some time away with Tim.