There are moments in our lives that we call memorable – something that happens in our lives that we say we will remember. And there are defining moments; a point in one’s life when you are urged to make a pivotal decision, or you experience something that fundamentally changes you.
On November 10th, our day at Epiphany was marked by two events: the first occurred at the 8:00 and 10:00am services in which some of our young people reflected on their experiences at El Hogar from last August. It was clear that for some of them it was a defining moment; they now view the world in a different way. They have “new lenses” with which they see their own privileged lives in stark contrast to the lives of the children and youth of El Hogar in Honduras. By entering into the lives of the kids from El Hogar, they were able to see how much they have in common. They observed, they listened, and they played together. What separated them was their life circumstances and our teens were changed in a profound way. Their witness to all of us was profound and I hope that it confirmed in them the power of accompanying another person and walking in another’s shoes. Click here to listen to their reflections.
At 5:00pm on that very same day, many of us witnessed a defining moment in the life of this Parish and our Diocese. Our Bishop, Alan Gates, made a public confession for the wrongs done by one of his predecessors, which prevented Gayle Pershouse from being ordained a priest over thirty years ago. The act of repentance on behalf of the Institutional Church and Gayle’s beautiful act of forgiveness made the words of Holy scripture ring in my ears: “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Can you not perceive it?”
Our Bishop’s willingness to listen compassionately to Gayle’s story and by listening, perceive that she indeed has been living out a priestly vocation all these years in numerous ways. God worked something in him that is remarkable and signals, not just to our Diocese but the wider Church, that the sins of our past can be dealt with in an open and honest manner. Bishop Gates continues to exhibit courage, humility, and compassion - all qualities of a great leader. My prayer is that those who were present at Gayle’s ordination and those who will hear about it will find in that act some hope, and perhaps some healing.
What followed Gayle’s ordination service was a pure act of love! The reception that was so lovingly put together by so many of you was Epiphany at its best – Hadley Hall was resplendent with beautiful decorations, food, and drink! A million thanks to all of you who contributed your time and love to make the reception so festive and welcoming to Gayle’s family and all those who came to witness this historic occasion.
I give thanks to God for these defining moments of our lives; moments that teach us and show us that God makes all things new and the Holy Spirit is active in our journey of faith, urging us on to do what is good and right and true.
Faithfully yours in Christ,