From Deacon Tom …


What gets you through your day? 

What gets you through this isolation?

What gets you through the changes that have happened in our lives these last 8+ weeks. 

Yes, it’s been that long since your vestry voted (in accordance with state guidelines and Bishop Prior’s order) that we not have in-person live services.

If you are anything like me, you are experiencing the loss and grief of not being physically together.  We are a people of touch. For some just a handshake will do, others need a hug and some just need to see each other in a warm and inviting sanctuary worshiping our God together, in a space where ALL ARE WELCOME.

This past week I have become aware of the loss and grief in my own life in several areas that I didn’t even realize were present. First, on Friday evening, as we held our last cohort gathering (this time on-line) with the bishop and the bishop-elect. We discussed the future of The School for Formation and set a meeting to discuss ordinations for those of us being ordained in June or as Bishop-elect Loya said “this Summer”. How different the ceremony is going to look as we adhere to gathering guidelines we now must accept as part of our lives. Gone is the mass ordination, all of our friends and family in attendance and all the priests coming forward at the end and also laying on their hands as a “cloud of witnesses”.  It will be replaced with groups of “2 to 3” and a few family members using a live-streamed service. I will know more about this after tomorrow following a meeting with Bishop-elect Loya.

Secondly, I also experienced a great sense of loss and grief surrounding not being able to return to St. Cloud Hospital for my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) because of their restrictions and then because I was not willing to bring a virus as deadly as Covid 19 home to my loving wife Alexis. Yesterday was my final day in CPE. While I still am completing clinical hours phoning you, our parishioners, it signifies the end of a unit of CPE that I had envisioned very differently perhaps spent at the bedside of people in need within the hospital. My vision and God’s vision were very different. 

These times are like nothing I/we have ever experience before. 

I invite and encourage each of you to pray for each other by name. We are all carrying something and we are all experiencing loss and grief in our own way. Some of us are better at expressing our needs than others and will tell our friends and fellow parishioners’ what’s on our hearts, others, not so much. Don’t allow your grief and loss to eat away and consume you. I assure you, that you are not the only one experiencing this. I speak from the heart!

In Jeremiah 29:11-12 it says:  For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.

Take a moment please. Pray. God hears our prayers!

God’s peace,
Deacon Tom

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