By Nancy Hoyes on Fr. Dean's first Sunday as St. Aidan's incumbent.
To begin this morning, I'm just going to touch very briefly on my relationship with the church.
I've been an Anglican since birth; actually, I often say that I started coming to church even before I was born. That church was in this building, though in its previous life. I love the Anglican church and its worship – especially the Eucharist which has been an essential part of my life since childhood. When I turned 13 I couldn't wait to be confirmed - because back in the “olden” days we had to be confirmed before we could receive communion. When I receive the Eucharist I continue to be in awe of how amazing this gift of Christ's is to the church because it engages our senses: we can literally see and taste, perhaps smell, and then feel the sacrament as it becomes part of us. I for one am so thankful that Christ chooses to meet us in such a tangible way.
What I really want to focus mostly on today is the interim period here at St. Aidan when we were without a parish priest, though so blessed with Fr. Cal, Deacon Arleen and many dedicated lay people.
During that time I had the privilege - AND the enormous responsibility of being one of the members of the Search Committee. I was quite nervous in the beginning - and concerned - about how the well the members would get on together.
And God just smiled.
Amalgamation was several years behind us and I felt we had grown into a real parish family. However, I had never worked on a committee with these people before and I was aware that we would have at least some differing views about church, theology and possibly our ideas of what kind of person our next parish priest should be.
And the parish prayed.
One thing was fairly evident to me from the beginning and that was that each of us was there to do what was best for St. Aidan. That was definitely first and foremost.
It's so hard for me to put into words how incredibly well that committee worked together. There was such understanding and respect for each other and our points of view. Week after week we prayed together, we laughed – a lot! -- and we worked – oh how we worked! - developing a parish profile.
In the end, after going through the arduous process of selection and much prayer for discernment, we came to our decision, first individually and then as one body, that The Revd Dean Pinter was the right choice to be our new incumbent.
And the parish prayed and gave thanks.
It's my belief that nothing but the grace of God, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of so many could have brought about that kind of connection and unity.
And God just smiled.
Today marks a new beginning for St. Aidan. We begin a new relationship as priest and people, and I am so looking forward to all the possibilities God has in store for us.