E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 13, 2020

From our Postulant to the Sacred Order of Priests and more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 13, 2020 – Available in full online here.

Haga clic aquí para ver el mensaje de esta semana en español de nuestro misionero latino, Luis Valencia. 

From our Postulant to the Sacred Order of Priests
Alicia Hager
Dear *|FNAME|*

In November of 2008 I received an email from John Bryson.

I've just read through that email exchange, which I've saved, all these years later. Our conversation is stilted and awkward, I make odd references to elements of the liturgy, and I also claim to be an alto. In that email JGB asked me to join the choir. He said with Advent approaching now was the time to get my feet wet. I didn't know then that I would be fully immersed in YOU. I didn't know that the church could be for me, that I could have a family like you to celebrate and to grieve with. 

Most of you know that I have been on a journey to ordained ministry for about five years. In that time I've preached for you, taught classes and led workshops with you, managed the kitchen for Loving Spoonfuls, written and directed Advent Pageants, planned the Follies and the Spring Fling, became a Godly Play story teller, been a reader and an intercessor. I've also discerned more fully my calling to priestly ministry with you, at the altar rail. I am never more myself than when I am with you there, sharing the precious body and blood of our Jesus. 

Last month I met with our Commision on Ministry, and that body, together with the Standing Committee of our diocese discerned unanimously to move me forward in my process. I am now writing to you as a Postulant to the Sacred Order of Priests. Part of this process, just as we witnessed with our beloved Radha, and with Mark Kelley, is a leaving. So this is my goodbye letter to you. 

I will be placed in a local parish to work under a different priest and with a different parish community, to learn how they do ministry and church, and to practice my own ministry skills. The diocese is still firming up their plans for me, so I am not able to share yet where I am going, Jared can announce this to you when we know for sure. 

What I want you to know, each one of you, is how grateful I am. Your love has changed me. I am not the person who wrote those emails to JGB in 2008, and that is because of your love. Your way of being allowed me to be vulnerable, it allowed my heart to break. Only then could I hear the whisper of a call to ministry, only then could I discover who I really am, only then could I find my voice. 

In the ninth chapter of Luke's gospel Jesus sends the twelve out to proclaim the good news. He tells them they can't take anything with them. I've found myself grasping more than once this week to take something with me as I leave you. And I understand now that I can't, in the same way the disciples were sent I must be sent, carrying nothing that would weigh me down or hold me back. All I am taking is my prayer book and, I hope, your blessing and continued prayers. And that is enough for me to carry. 

I love you SJE. 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 13, 2020 online here

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