This is not the Warden Report we had planned. Last week I drafted a long-overdue report; a breezy, cheery missive about all we have to be thankful for at IAC. I sent it to Eric for comment. At 8:42 AM last Friday, Eric replied with a thumbs up—then hopped onto his bike as usual.
Any of you who were unable to attend his funeral service on Monday are welcome to request a link to it by asking Liz or Amy. And I hope many of you will join us this Saturday as we share more memories of our dear brother and friend. The more I learn about this remarkable man I am more deeply thankful and honored to have shared in a short season of his life as his fellow warden.
Eric will be sorely missed by Incarnation Anglican Church. Sometimes his service among us was visible, but more often, it was behind the scenes. I think of how the load-bearing walls of a building keep it standing. Eric was a man for others. He was invaluable on our Vestry and as a warden; he was kind, generous, perceptive, straightforward, calm, and wise. He loved Erin and the kids with abandon. He was a friend who gently entered others’ lives, walking (or cycling) alongside us, even when the route was out of his way. He shared his burdens and carried ours, often circling back in conversation to ask about something he remembered we’d said. He was a quiet, personal pillar for Incarnation’s pastors. He focused on finding ways to support the dreams our staff had for Incarnation, and removing obstacles to ministry. With a wry smile, he could see through interpersonal thickets and find solutions. He was uncomplicated: he had a big, big heart. As vestry member Clayton put it beautifully, summing up Eric’s character: “this is what the Gospel does to a man”.
Our Vestry held our regular meeting on Monday, November 30, feeling the loss of Eric acutely and spending some time remembering him and praying together. This is not a loss we will easily recover from, yet we were comforted by the certainty of his resurrection, and by the beautiful ways the Incarnation community surrounded the Owen family and honored our dear brother. The loss makes this community even more beloved, each person more precious. Please do reach out to each other, and for pastoral care, now and in the coming weeks and months—this is a blow we need to absorb together. And we will all be looking for ways to care for Erin, James, David and Clara.
So, what do we do now? Our Bylaws require us to seek nominations from the congregation for a new vestry member, so please contact Liz or me with any nominations by December 15. Other recent Vestry business (we also met in October, hosted by Eric on his deck) is captured in the minutes, which members can access in the ‘Member group’ on PCO. One bottom-line cause for thanksgiving is that thanks to your generosity, we ended our last fiscal year with a surplus, and can proceed to devote 15% of our 2021 budget to outreach as planned. We hope you’ve been following Amy’s weekly Outreach Blogs so you can share the joy and know what you are supporting.
As we enter this Advent season weighed down by all the events of 2020, including the devastating loss of our brother Eric, the hope of the arrival of a Savior, to bring light into the darkness, has never been more welcome.
Grieving and hoping with you-