From this morning's service celebrating the ministry of our affiliate clergy:
Toward the end of his Gospel, St. John the Evangelist recounts the following exchange between Jesus and Peter:
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep."For many years and especially the last three years, Father Tom Honderich, Father Dan Billman, and Father Michael Stichweh have embodied the Christian service Jesus lays upon Peter. As Christian people, we require spiritual sustenance in the form of regular worship and receiving Holy Communion. these three men, tirelessly and without complaint, have served at mass on Sundays and Wednesday, have faithfully preached the Gospel, and have been with many of us individually during our time of need. Truly they have fed Jesus' flock, and they are an example to us of our own calling to selfless service to God.
Now seems an appropriate time to recognize the gifts Tom, Dan and Michael have given us. We now eagerly anticipate the arrival of our new rector in a few short weeks. Tom, Dan, and Michael will then take a well-deserved break for a few months. This is not a goodbye, just an acknowledgment for a hard job well done. Let's stand up and show Tom, Dan and Michael how much we appreciate them with a round of applause.
Tom, Dan, and Michael, you have generously given this congregation great gifts of time, love, and service. We hope in some small way to repay your generosity with our gift to you. We celebrate the holy days of this church by using a special wine, Six Grapes Port. From this congregation, I present to each of you a bottle of this port. Whenever you drink it, remember the love the congregation of All Saints has for each of you.
- Brendan O'Sullivan-Hale, August 26, 2012
Prayer: Almighty God, we praise and bless you for the ministry of Father Dan, Father Tom, and Father Michael, whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to lead our worship and to preach the Gospel in this place. We thank you that a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and we ask your blessing on them today and always; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all glory and honor, world without end. Amen.