Until We Meet Again

September 11, 2016

This Sunday will be my last Sunday at Trinity Church on the Green, even though I will be around to assist at Chapel on the Green two Sundays a month for the remainder of the year.  While I am excited about my new opportunity as Priest in Charge at Grace Episcopal Church, Hartford, I will miss being with you, and it will be difficult to say goodbye.

As another colleague noted, “Goodbyes are hard (though there are some partings that are long-awaited and joyful). We hate them.”[1] Yet, they are inevitable and part of our growth as human beings and Christians.
As I reflect on what the past twenty-two months have meant to me, I thank you for challenging me to be a better pastor, preacher and teacher.  I learned a great deal about my faith and what it means to be a priest in community.
I had the privilege of celebrating the Holy Eucharist with you countless times whether at the high altar and east facing, facing you at the blended Rite II service, or more intimately at the side altar.  I had the pleasure of officiating at my first baptism; two lovely baby girls!  I journeyed with many of you as you said final goodbyes to loved ones and fellow parishioners.

I spent many hours getting to know, traveling and just having fun with our choristers.  I learned that sometimes being the Choir Chaplain just meant being present, or being able to give permission to go to the bathroom and watch out to ensure choristers returned safely.  I had the privilege of capturing the joyful moments our choristers experienced in photos as they played intense games of poison ball, sang at concerts around the state or huddled together at movie night at choir camp.  I will miss your beautiful voices and your well-mannered and well-behaved demeanor as representatives of our worshipping community.  Thank you Mr. Moore, Dr. K., Mrs. Seggar, Ms. Yieh and Mr. Q.

I am grateful for the time spent with our seniors.  I have been blessed by the stories of your lives; i.e. meeting famous, iconic figures from history like Churchill and John Wayne or what the Trinity community was like in the days of the parish hall down the street.  I enjoyed our time together whether at the Whitney Center, Elim Park, Whitney Manor, Evergreen Woods, in your homes or at the Wednesday Club and Holiday Bazaar gatherings.  I thank you for allowing me into these intimate parts of your lives; your struggles with aging, your concerns about death, your joy and also worries about your family and friends.  You have taught me so much and it has been my pleasure to serve you along with Rev. Estelle, Lilian and all the team leaders of the Pastoral Care team and Home Board especially Barbara, Candy, Chris, Ellen, Judi, Lisa, Glen and Carol.

I am also grateful to the wardens, vestry and staff.  Your support, guidance, friendship and advice made working at Trinity a joy and an excellent learning experience.  I am especially grateful to Luk and the wardens (past and present) for giving me the opportunity to be your Assistant Rector.  It will be years before I truly realize the impact of just how blessed I have been to have spent this holy time with you.  I am a better priest because of it!  I am also grateful to Sherrill and Sam for their leadership with our staff.  Thank you for all that you do for so many in very quiet, caring ways.  I will miss working with you!

I am especially grateful to the members of the Monday night House Church led by Bob Sandine who allowed me to be myself, have fun and experience the weekly scripture in new and exciting ways!  Thank you for showing Christ’s love in your care for each other and also me.  Thank you for your humor, your embrace of the good things in life, and your leadership of the Trinity Players.

To all the Trinity volunteers who give tirelessly of their time and talents, thank you!  You have been witnesses of the love we share in our community.  Thank you especially to the altar guild, ushers, acolytes and sextons who were available to assist on short notice with funerals and memorials.  Thank you to members of the various outreach teams and their care for our neighbors especially the Friends of the Green, Columbus House, DESK and Grants teams.  You are blessing not only to the Trinity community but the City of New Haven.

Thank you to our various program teams but especially the music and stewardship teams.  Your tireless efforts and diligence are impressive.  Please help make their labor of love much easier by attending the Bach, Beatles and Beyond concert on September 23rd at 7pm and get those pledge cards in early to Mary Ellen and Dave!

To my Chapel on the Green family, thank you for reminding me what it truly means to care for the least.  I have been humbled by the experiences we have shared week in and week out on the Green; some of them the work of the Spirit and some others not so much.  In all of these experiences I have learned that sometimes we can’t judge a book by its cover, we have to build relationship, get to know people and hear their stories.  Thank you to our coordinators, Samantha, Luz and Mark and our faithful team of volunteers not only from the various churches and institutions but also our very own dedicated team of Cathy, Charles, David, Chuck, Debbie and Jack.

To all the families whom I have had the pleasure to join for meals, family gatherings, parish outings and even one on one coffee time, thank you for making me feel welcomed.  You are too numerous to mention here, and I hope to thank you all privately.  Just know that you have been a blessing to me and I will always treasure our times together.

Continue to pray for me as I will for you.  Until we meet again, God bless and keep you.
Rowena+