How do we define a chapter in our life? Was it the last eight months of joy and struggle, filled with beautiful people? The last three years of feeling homeless and unmoored? Was it the last ten years of striving towards something that was vague in my mind for so long? I am not entirely sure what chapter is coming to a close, but either way, as I write this, it is evident to me that a chapter is ending another is beginning. The road I have been on is winding down, and a new one is starting.
This past week I was called as Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Prescott, Arizona.
I have long joked about trying to serve in churches named after all of the Apostles. I was on the vestry of St. Paul’s, held numerous positions at St. Thomas’s, helped out at St. Peter’s and St. Matthew’s. I was a third of the way there, but God in His sometimes humorous ways has seen it fit to bring me to a place where I can serve Him where the namesake is all the saints, that great cloud of witnesses throughout all times. That little fact makes me smile. I am filled with joy for numerous reasons, but this quirky one is particularly pleasing to me.
As I contemplated this choice I met a friend for lunch to talk about this, life, and other things. I asked him what he would do, and we discussed regretting not putting down roots. It has always been hard for me to settle down. I’m not sure why, I get restless, and I want to move somewhere, maybe I think it’ll be easier? I see a pasture that seems greener? He suggested to me that putting down roots was important, especially as a Christian minister. He wanted me to stay in Asheville, but as I thought and prayed about the choices I was facing, I realized Prescott would be a place I could put down roots for the long term.
For the first time in my life, I am planning on settling down. I am not looking for the next challenging but focusing on this one, settling in. While God may have other plans in mind, I am planning on making a home in Prescott, being there for the long haul. It is a strange feeling, and in all honesty, there is a certain element of mystery. All I can see at the moment is the closing of this chapter. The emptying of my little house onto a truck to be hauled off into the great western highland desert.
Despite the mystery, I am looking forward to delving into it.
When I interviewed with them, they asked what my thoughts on relocating there were. I laughed and told them “I wasn’t actually planning on moving across the country for the second time in under a year, but if that’s what God wants then glory to God.”
And so it is.
To all my dear friends who have kindly walked with me in this season of struggle, I thank you deeply for your patience and prayers. The last twelve months have been filled with many joys, but also many hardships and deep anxiety. I knew that I needed to trust in God more deeply than He had ever asked me to before, and as I embark on this next seasons of my life, I know that I will need that trust what I have learned even more.
For all my friends who prayed for me because they love me more than I deserve, I thank you. I do not know why you have loved me such, but I am beyond thankful for your kindness and humbled friendship.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will pack up my little life in North Carolina. I will spend the second half of July in Maine where I will be able to spend time with my dear family and see my old friends and then I will, Lord willing head to Arizona to make a new home.
I ask for your prayers for the following things:
– That packing up my life would be smooth and not ridden with anxiety
– That my time home in Maine would be refreshing and filled with joy, that I would be able to see everyone I want and need to
– That the move would go smoothly and I will find a reasonably priced and reliable mover (it is looking like this prayer has been answered as of the afternoon of Sunday 6/25)
– That once I arrive in Prescott, I would find a residence in a timely manner
– That God would bless my new ministry
If you are a Maine friend, please e-mail me or send me a message if you want to get coffee or lunch or go for a walk. I am not going to share my itinerary publically, but chances are if you want to see me, I would like to see you.
As this new chapter has unfolded, I have been amazed to see God working through the whole thing. I am beyond thankful for His goodness.
I have found each time I have to say goodbye to people who have become my friends it gets a little harder. The friends I have made in western North Carolina are lovely, kindhearted folk, and my heart aches to be saying my farewells to them so soon.
There is a man at this parish who was also a member of Saint Paul’s Portland, the first Anglican church I was a member of. I had lunch with him yesterday, and he smiled at me and said: “It is time.”
By the grace of God, it is time, and may this new chapter be blessed, and may all that I do be done to the glory of God.
Thank you to all of you for the incredible blessings each of you has been to me.