Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
– Book of Common Prayer, 1979
This 2016 Palm Sunday or Sunday of the Passion, was a little different for me. This Sunday was the celebration of my time at Redeemer Anglican Church, Norwood. I’ve spent four years there. Two years as an Associate Clergy, one year as the Assistant Vicar and finally, this past year as the Vicar. I skipped curacy due to my previous time as a Baptist Minister.
It was humbling and bittersweet. I was humbled by the love the congregation showed me. I was humbled by the love I was shown by my Baptist colleagues, whom we shared a worship space with. I was humbled by the list of accomplishments that were read as we walked together as Vicar and parish.
It is bittersweet because I know that I must depart in order for the congregation and I to continue growing in Christ. Typically in Anglican/Episcopal churches, the priest has a three-year term. Some stay later, as I did. It is sweet because I am excited about the direction both the parish and I will go, albeit, not together.
As one of my parishioners said “We are forever linked Father!” Indeed we are. This parish is my first Anglican congregation. I am the parish’s first “outside” (community, race, age, and diocese) Vicar. One never forgets the first of anything. May God bless the parish of the Church of the Redeemer, Norwood and the First Baptist Norwood communities. Until we meet again.