On Epiphany Sunday 2016 I joined my colleague the Rev Catherine MacDonald and the people of the Elmsdale Pastoral Charge as they began a 30 month Interim ministry together. As part of the transition team it seemed like a great opportunity to join them for worship. As part of the service, Catherine invited people to choose “star words”. The word I chose was “change” and in many ways it has been my guiding word for the year.
At the time I chose it, we had just found out that Jennifer was pregnant and that set in motion a great deal of reflection on my future plans, culminating in the decision to leave Cole Harbour Woodside church at the end of June, after 26 years – to seek a change in pastoral relations, with no real idea what that would mean. Jen’s news changed later in January when she found out she had miscarried and then news came in April that she was pregnant again. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions.
Shortly after announcing my decision to leave Cole Harbour, two wonderful opportunities came my way; to do a short term appointment in the Waverly Pastoral charge while their minister was on paternity leave and to cover for the Formation Director at AST while Sally Shaw was on sabbatical.
I enjoyed a wonderful trip to France; a concluding service in Cole Harbour Woodside with Kim and Mitch home from Fredericton and Jen and Justin home from Baltimore; a summer spent at the cottage with ten days in Berwick and then a very busy fall balancing 3 part time positions.
Paul turned 60 in September and the six of us were together again in Baltimore for a fun filled week and in October I happily accepted a 3 year half time faculty appointment at AST to begin on January 1st 2017.
Continuing the theme of change, plans changed dramatically on November 12th when Jennifer called to say that the baby was coming 4 weeks early – in the space of 12 hours I made it from the cottage in Shelburne to the hospital in Baltimore in time to see William Paul White make his way into the world. What an amazing and holy experience. A week in Baltimore, back home to finish work responsibilities, a quick trip to Calgary and back to Baltimore for the month of December.
Christmas was a huge change this year, not leading worship, not spending it with my parents, sister and family as well as Kim and Mitch. That said, snuggling with Will in the light of the Christmas tree was pretty amazing.
I came home on January 3rd to start my new half time position at AST and reconnect with everyone here. It was a year of change in many ways and yet the things that are most important, love, family, friendship, and a sense of meaning and contentment have all remained the same.
Catherine MacDonald once again offered star words to those who were interested. My word for 2017 is “Hospitality.” What a great word and I look forward to seeing how that is lived out in these next 12 months. I’ll think about that for next week as I get back into the habit of a weekly blog.
Blessings to all of you as we enter into this New Year.