When people ask me, “where are you from?”, I always hesitate, not sure how much information they really want to know. I do not have a “home town” or place where my family lived for years and where I grew up. Every 2-3 years my family packed up and moved to another suburban town, near a fairly large city, where my father had taken a new job. Home is where the heart is, so what mattered was that we were together as a family. When I filled out college applications and it asked for the names of schools I had attended, I lost count. I had moved eight times in 18 years, and the moves usually coincided with the beginning of a new school year. So every September, I had a fresh start in a different school and attended a different Episcopal Church in towns in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, and Illinois. Believe it or not, I have positive memories of preparing for school in September. There were new school clothes, new books, new teachers, new friends and new adventures. I learned to be open to change and challenges that brought me new experiences. This pattern has followed me into my ordained ministry. In my 23 years as a parish priest, I started serving a parish in the first weeks of September five times, including at St. Alban’s. So this September, I have excitement about the start of a new program year at St. Alban’s. Tomorrow, St. Alban’s new rector, the Rev. Dr. Deborah Meister, will begin her ministry with St. Alban’s.
September is a great time to start serving in a parish. Parishioners seem full of energy and ideas from the rest and renewal of summer vacations. People seem confident and more joyful in the fall, and open to change. There are more visitors and newcomers in the fall than at other times of the year. Be alert and welcome them. The parish is also full of enthusiasm in anticipation of Deborah’s arrival, and I am looking forward to the new ideas and possible changes that Deborah, as the new rector of the parish, may bring to the parish. Please keep your hearts, lungs and minds open to the crisp clean air of fall and the movement of the Holy Spirit that makes all things new in their time.
“And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ 6Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” Revelation 21:5-7