Dear Friends in Christ—
This weekend, I will be away for continuing education. I use most of my continuing education resources on learning Spanish, which is a priority for me. However, I am doing something a little different this time, something that probably not a lot of Episcopal clergy do: learning wilderness first aid.
I’ll be spending the weekend in Piscataway Park. From what I’ve heard, I’ll not only be listening to lectures about broken bones but binding up wounds of pretend patients on site. It should be an adventure.
Why I am doing this? As I continue to discern where God is calling me in my priesthood, I feel a desire to share my love of journeying in the wilderness. I’d love to lead people—like you all—on trips short or long through God’s vast creation. I have an idea (more to come soon) about a short backpacking trip in the fall. Eventually, there are more ambitious destinations. (You may have heard about the Camino in Spain . . . what about St. Olav’s Way in Norway?)
This value on adventure and curiosity is one that members of your clergy team share. Father Santi joined our J2A pilgrims on their trip to Glacier National Park, and he has a love of pilgrimage and a desire to foster such encounters with God. We have just begun talking about possibilities for not just youth but also adults at Grace.
At our staff meeting, as we each talked about what is important in our vocation, Mother Nina shared something important and inspiring: that she never wants to stop growing. She is curious not only about the adventures without but also within, challenging herself to learn new skills and venture outside of her comfort zone.
I share all this with you not only as a preview of possibilities at Grace, but also to encourage you to ask these same questions of yourself in this summer season. Where could your curiosity take you? Where does your joy lead you? I believe that our ministry together is not only shaped by the desire to serve but also by the things that (in the words of the prayer book) “satisfy and delight us.” I hope that our life might be shaped not by obligation but by joy.
I wish you joy and adventure in these long summer days.
Yours in Christ,
P.S. One other opportunity for joy: we’re beginning a new gathering for families with young children. There’s no agenda other than simply enjoying one another’s company. The first will be this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Potomac Yards Park, which is at 2501 Potomac Avenue in Alexandria.