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So Long, Farewell, Godspeed


About six or seven years ago (our records are unclear if it was late 2005 or early 2006), as part of a Vestry and clergy initiative to improve communications, we happened upon the idea of sharing the weekly Sunday morning printed “Announcements” sheet in – gasp! – electronic form, so they’d appear in people’s email inboxes each Friday instead of only being distributed in hard copy.  (Such innovators we were!)

We also thought, “Well, as long as we’re sharing the Announcements each week, why don’t we also include a weekly inspirational message, written by me or one of the other clergy?” 

And so –  thanks to the technological savvy and patience of Janine Wilson – thus was born “the e-Pistle of St. James’”.

Since that time, I, with frequent pitch-hits from Pastor Mary and Reverend Kate – have written over 330 e-Pistles.

With Sunday being my last Sunday as Rector of St. James’, I’m not only handing over the keys to the church and other symbols of my ordained ministry, I’m also (symbolically) handing over the keyboard to this e-Pistle. 

Obviously, you’ll still receive the e-Pistle each week. (And, I’d predict – given that I’m a bit of a procrastinator – you’ll probably receive it a lot earlier!)

But this is my last one, my last message.

So in thinking what I’d say, I thought it’d be fun to try to summarize my e-Pistle messages over the years…or at least look for recurring themes.

Thanks to a fun (and free) software/website tool called “Wordle,” where you can cut and paste any amount of words from any document into their template and it’ll create a “word cloud” for you, it’s not as hard or time consuming as you’d think to find out what the main emphasis is in any written material.

So – again thanks to Janine, who cut and pasted almost all of my e-Pistles from over the years (over 54,000 words total in this sampling!)  – here is a “Wordle” of my e-Pistles:



Squint at it, or look at it from a distance, and three words jump out at you:



God.

People.

Time. 

So there you have it: what I’ve been trying to say each Friday over all these years:

People: take time for God!”

Or is it…

In God’s time, people!”

Or is it…

It’s time, people, for God!”

Or some combination of all three?

I’ll leave that to you to ponder.

But for now, let me say how much I appreciate your reading these messages, for your feedback, and for your words of encouragement. As almost any writer will tell you, there is no greater compliment than to hear someone say, “Wow, you put into words exactly what I was feeling…”

Thank you. It’s been a great journey. God bless, protect, heal, and enliven you. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers, and I ask that you keep me and my family in yours.

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