The following message was included in the February 2021 edition of Be Present at Our Table, the monthly newsletter of Children and Family Ministries at Saint Mark's.
In the past year, the familiar heavy doors pictured above have not been swung open by little hands or harried parents very often. Prior to the pandemic, they were the physical threshold we passed through into the expansive and sacred space where we worship together, and the signal to our bodies that we were moving into a different kind of time and attention together with God. I don’t know about you, but opening those doors always evoked a deep breath in me that settled my soul.
I have missed thresholds this year; the markers of transitions that help us shift our energy and attention, and prepare ourselves for what is next. We talk often of thresholds in Godly Play; of using the outward and visible world to help kids transition into places of curiosity and wonder with God inside themselves. As you have probably heard me say before, what’s good for kids is good for adults! We, too, need thresholds to help us make transitions.
This is one of the beautiful facets of the liturgical calendar. Built into our ecclesiastical timekeeping are thresholds like Advent, Ash Wednesday, Lent, or Palm Sunday that help us turn the corners in our spiritual lives. Episcopal worship includes bodily practices and experiences that support our internal work, and one of those is the imposition of ashes at the start of Lent. This year, instead of going into the Cathedral and having a cross imposed on your forehead by a priest, you will do this at home. You’ll see more details about this coming up in Sundays and Beyond, and in your mailbox! I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to mark the transition into Lent with the Saint Mark’s community from home this year.
This note also serves as a threshold for me with you: I am resigning my role at Saint Mark’s to further discern my call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church in a smaller parish. I am excited to take this turn toward God’s beckoning, but I am also sad, because I love companioning you and your children in this life we share, and I will miss you. Transitions are often this way; they are filled with different kinds of emotions, and all of those are okay.
In the coming weeks, you’ll hear more from Dean Steve and Canon Jennifer about how you all will enter this transition together. I have confidence in the ministry and leadership of our incredible team of clergy and program staff, our vestry liaison, Kristen Austin, our dedicated church school leaders: Alicia Goodwin, Kristen Kelly, and Sonjia Gavin, and the abiding presence and care of Rebekah Gilmore, whose staff role continues among children and youth as choir school director and interim youth minister. And, I have complete confidence in you. We have learned and grown so much together these past 3 and a half years.
God’s spirit moves mightily in this community among you and your children. Trust that!
I do. It has been a humble honor and a privilege to cross so many thresholds with you, and see God revealed in our midst.
with deep gratitude,
Associate for Spiritual Development