As many of you know, Elisabeth Jameson will depart as the Rector of St. Simon’s at the 10:00 a.m. service on March 10. 2019. In my past 50 years serving as a priest in the church, I have had five departures. For me personally, some were a relief, some were filled with excitement for the future, some were necessary, none were easy. The bond between a priest and congregation, as Elizabeth said so eloquently in her resignation letter, cannot be broken. They will forever flow into our futures as reminders of what has been and what can expand into what may yet be. As St. Paul said, we plant the seeds. God gives the growth.
On March 10, we will have a liturgy for the “Ending of a Pastoral Relationship.” Even the title tugs at my heart and spirit. Yet that is what will happen. Elizabeth “with a heavy heart” has declared her intention to end this pastoral relationship for health reasons after struggling for over a year to be strong enough to continue. The Vestry “with heavy hearts” accepted that resignation. We, the people of St. Simon’s will be asked to do the same. On March 10, the Bishop’s Deputy will ask us, “Do you, the people of St. Simon’s recognize and accept the conclusion of this pastoral relationship?” And we with “heavy hearts” and tears in our eyes will say, “We do.” We don’t like it! But, we will do it as faithful servants of the Way.
And then we will pray one of Elizabeth’s favorite prayers of deep trust:
O God of changeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, throughout the all ages of ages. Amen.
With you in joy, sorrow, hope and love.