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The Right Reverend Alan kindly told me I don’t need to write Ember Day letters now that I’ve moved from discernment through ordination. I am supposed to write him annually, on the anniversary of my ordination. None of my Ember Day letters were quite this late, but here’s what I’d be telling him:

Being ordained feels right. I can’t describe how, but I know it is right. I don’t think I could say I’m doing much that is different, and it’s certainly not a feeling of power, but it feels settled and right.

So, what do I do? You may recall that you asked me to discern whether I could take over the Summer Ministries Retreat (Cathy having finished three good years, as she’d promised). I am sure you know that by now I did so. It probably went better than I deserved. The tracks, the array of mini-courses that meet throughout, all got very good reviews. The location as usual was well-liked, though lots of complaints about the air-conditioning. Next year I’ll rewrite our perennial reminder that we can’t control the temperature and to bring sweaters. Maybe we should get hoodies with a spiffy diocesan logo and sell them.

Over the twelve years I ran the Shelter House Book Sale, I learned a lot about giving up control and not doing it all myself. I didn’t learn quite enough, and will try for a shorter learning curve at this task. Next year, more different leaders of worship, more people with more roles. And the music was mostly liked, but a real minority who found it too difficult. We won’t dumb it down, but we will do a little less and simplify.

I am most pleased, and I hope you are, with our first attempt at a diocesan Youth Choir for Ministries Retreat. The young people who spent the weekend together singing and playing had a wonderful time. The adults are ready to do it again. I hope we’ll attract more young people to this opportunity. St. Paul’s was most gracious; we could handle up to 20 before we’d really outgrow their space. Twenty would be a good number. Our younger members are full members; a choir has a real place in leading congregational singing and bringing us to worship; an anthem expresses our prayers just as a collect does. As a church we have a rich musical heritage which we should use–and the most important part of that heritage is that we do sing, the congregation as the primary choir, the choir as gift of us all to God. What we sing, as long as it is good music to God’s glory, is less important than that we do sing.

You ordained me with a primary ministry to those who are homeless. I haven’t forgotten. I also haven’t yet figured out how to do that–or better, not yet when to do that. And that’s a poor excuse which I will remedy before the next letter (which will be on time). And thank you for the gifts that come with ordination; the new and wonderful, supportive relationships with other clergy–without the loss of my non-clergy friends; the opportunities to listen and help; the sense of rightness and peace.

I will try to post on this blog more often. To start with, I’m going to post some of the sermons I’ve given, starting in the next entry with jthe July 4th sermon, in lieu of it’s going on Trinity’s website.

Faithfully, Judith

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