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Letter from Amy: July 3, 2024



Dear Incarnation,


It was such a joy to be with you on Sunday to celebrate Chloe's baptism together! Thank you for welcoming her into the family of God and making promises to support her life in Christ. I love how participatory our baptisms are; not only do we pledge our care to the baptized person and her family, but we also renew our own baptismal vows, remembering God's loving deliverance of each one of us. In moments like these, I am often overwhelmed with gratitude at the gift of being one of your pastors. Thank you for being part of this community!


We also began our summer series on Neighboring, and heard how our outreach partners at Casa Chirilagua are being good neighbors in their community. As I said in my sermon, the upcoming political season will try to convince us that our neighbors are enemies to be feared rather than people to be loved; I am praying that Jesus will equip and empower us to resist these messages and love our neighbors as ourselves.


The good neighborliness will continue this week as our South Arlington neighbors from L'Arche come to visit; can't wait!


***


I recently returned from a week in Latrobe, PA, for our annual Provincial Assembly (I wrote about it briefly last week). I have received many questions from you about the experience, so I thought I would briefly share my reflections and highlights.


But first, I strongly encourage all of you to watch this interview with our Archbishop-Elect Steve Wood and his wife Jaqui. It was a moving experience to be in the room for this interview. When he read the text he received before going on a ventilator, I think the entire room wept. When he said "I really, really like non-Christians," people stood and clapped. After the interview, Nancy Sung (who sits on Provincial Council) turned to me and said simply, "That was amazing." And it was.



In addition to this interview, there were so many moments throughout the week that gave me hope. I'll share a few:


  • During our business session, we approved changes to the constitution and canons of the Province. Many of these changes strengthened requirements for responding to abuse, and strengthened enforcement mechanisms when those requirements are not met. I'm grateful for these changes, even as I recognize the work is not yet done. But these are important steps toward ensuring our churches are places of safety, healing, and justice.

  • During the opening Eucharist, the Gospel was read in English and Spanish. During the closing Eucharist, the New Testament was read in English and Mandarin. I was so moved by these gestures of hospitality toward the many languages, cultures, and ethnicities of those in our province.

  • The opening plenary session was led by a female priest and a lay woman. The content of their plenary was rich, wise, and deep, inviting us into Jesus' practice of retreating to a solitary place to pray. But beyond the content itself, I also appreciated this plenary for two reasons. First, as a female priest, I appreciated seeing someone like me on the stage; it felt like a small but meaningful gesture to acknowledge the ministry of women. Second, I especially valued being led by a layperson. If I'm honest, sometimes large gatherings of clergy can feel a tad elitist, removed from the real concerns of the real people who fill our churches. It was so good to be led by a wise and faithful layperson and to be reminded of the shared priesthood of all believers.

  • I loved participating in two breakout sessions from the Matthew 25 Initiative on "Anglican Churches that Make a Difference on Seemingly Intractable Issues." Although I felt WAY out of my league on this panel (!), it was really a joy to tell stories about our church and the practical ways we are trying to foster a culture of true belonging, in which every person has a gift to bring and a meaningful way to participate. This session was led by the Rev. David Hanke, rector of our parent church, Restoration Anglican, and it was fun to work together!

  • Finally, I found the closing Eucharist to be joyful and healing. I came into the Eucharist service carrying some heavy burdens, just as some of you come on Sundays. As clergy, I am acutely aware of the hurt that people have experienced in the church, and I have sometimes experienced that hurt myself. But as has happened so many times before, I found myself relaxing into the familiar words of the liturgy, and God met me there with his gentle presence. He lifted my burdens, refreshed my weariness, and filled me again with a deep love for his church — broken and messy though she is. It was a very good and unexpected gift.

I'm happy to talk more about anything I've described above, or to answer any lingering questions you may have about Provincial Assembly or our Anglican tradition. Or — why not bring those questions to the Tuesday night small group on Anglican Distinctives, led by our summer intern Grace? We just started yesterday, and there's plenty of time to join. Sign up here.


From soaring hymns in basilicas to baptizing babies in rainbow dresses in a cafeteria and everything in between . . . it is SUCH a gift to be your pastor. Thank you for being you, Incarnation.


With love,

Amy


p.s. Another gift of Provincial Assembly was the stirring choral music! There was a piece in the final Eucharist called The Dream Isaiah Saw that I found achingly beautiful. I've pasted the lyrics and a video below. Russell, Grant, strings and brass players: any chance we can bring a simplified version during Advent???


The Dream Isaiah Saw


Lions and oxen will sleep in the hay

Leopards will join with the lambs as they play

Wolves will be pastured with cows in the glade

Blood will not darken the earth that God made


Little child whose bed is straw

Take new lodgings in my heart

Bring the dream Isaiah saw

Life redeemed from fang and claw


Peace will pervade more than forest and field

God will transfigure the Violence concealed

Deep in the heart and in systems of gain

Ripe for the judgement the Lord will ordain


Little child whose bed is straw

Take new lodgings in my heart

Bring the dream Isaiah saw

Justice purifying law


Nature reordered to match God′s intent

Nations obeying the call to repent

All of creation completely restored

Filled with the knowledge and love of the Lord


Little child whose bed is straw

Take new lodgings in my heart

Bring the dream Isaiah saw

Knowledge, wisdom, worship, awe



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