Last night at St. Mark's in Seattle the Episcopal Church in Western Washington gained three new priests to serve the Church: Alice W. Bower, Nancy Ross, and Todd Foster.
St. Paul's was well represented at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle. I don't have an exact count, but we estimated 50 people. Pat Weitnauer and Kate Brigham organized van transportation, and Kate and her husband Steve Brigham piloted two 15-passenger vans full of people there and back.
Ron Weitnauer, our webmaster, was there with his camera. Laurie Parrish brought a car loaded with cookies provided by St. Paul's parishioners, thanks to St. Anne's Guild. Rocky and Kristi Champagne served as Eucharistic Ministers, Raynell Wurtz and Laurie as acolytes. Teresa Flodin carried the diocesan banner in the procession. Aviva Foster read the first lesson. Becky Foster and Aviva and Elisha assisted Todd when it came time to don the vestments of a priest. Sharon and I had the privilege of being among those who presented Todd to the bishop, along with representatives of St Paul's, Mt. Vernon and Epiphany, Seattle, where Todd now serves as a priest on staff.
After the service was over we got pretty much the whole gang of St. Paul's people together for a photograph with Fr. Foster. Also present in the photo was The Rev. Michael Carroccino, who was ordained three years ago from St. Paul's and now serves as priest-in-charge of St. John the Baptist Church in West Seattle.
The liturgy itself was movingly and sensitively led by our bishop, with wonderful pauses for silent prayer and great hymns and spiritual songs. A holy space and time was created in that place.
I was able to stop and savor the way in which God has blessed and is blessing St. Paul's with faithful people pursuing their relationship with Christ in prayer, worship, learning, and service to the world. The raising up of clergy is something that happens in congregations where the Body of Christ is healthy. That's St. Paul's.
In the midst of last night's liturgy we all renewed our baptismal vows. That's so important. The basic commitment of a clergy person is to their baptismal vows. All else is founded upon that commitment. As a sign of that, the ordinands and the bishop conducted the rite of asperges, sprinkling all of us liberally with water.
Please say a prayer for Todd and Alice and Nancy when you read this. And remember your baptismal vows which make you a member of Jesus Christ, and be thankful.