The Reverend Jennie Lou Reid
February 26, 2017
From Mother Reid’s Sermon on the Occasion of her Retirement: Where are we going?
Our Holy Pilgrimage began in the heart of God and continues forever. Daily prayer and Bible reading are the foods that nourish us for the journey. Spiritual friendships with other Christians through programs like Cursillo, …Daughters of the King, … and church classes exercise our souls. Sharing our lives as pals in the Men’s Group and ECW keeps us connected. Singing in the choir helps us prepare for our place in the heavenly chorus!... Responding to the needs of our fellow parishioners in their time of illness, loss, and loneliness creates the tie that binds us together for life. In the meantime, God our Companion gives us courage to face our shortcomings, … and to persist in our efforts to please God in all we think and say and do. As we recognize our own limitations, we grow in compassion for others, and if we are brave and wise, in compassion for ourselves as well.
Many priests have touched the lives of St. Faith’s people since the founding of the parish in 1955. Some are remembered with much affection. One left amidst scandal. But even with the human limitations of these leaders, St. Faith’s has continued its presence in this patch of earth…
The First Sunday in Lent in 2008 I came as your Priest-in-Charge and the next year was instituted as Rector. This community has been a graceful gift from God for me. Here I have grown as a priest and experienced your wonderful welcome and love. I remember my first weekday here, when I sat down at my desk and wondered aloud, “Now what?” Our Parish Administrator Gloria Normann was my great teacher and friend as I discovered my ministry here. Before long Gloria kept telling me to go home when the office closed, and I was stubbornly staying on because there was so more much I wanted to accomplish. I hope that some of my innovations will continue to bless your life together. I pray that for my words or ideas that have upset you, you will forgive me… Forgiveness is our calling, for in forgiving others we are healed.
Where are we going? We are heading into the future with confidence that God… travels with us. I step into retirement wondering once again “Now what?” … You will be stepping into a Search for St. Faith’s next Rector. You have a joyful and well-grounded Supply priest, Father Mike Picou, to travel with you in the months ahead…. It will be important for you to listen thoughtfully to each other, to the promising candidates you identify, and to your own longings, touched by the Holy Spirit living in you.
I encourage you to commit to one habit: to come to church Sunday after Sunday. Come to church to praise God, for in that continuous praise you will grow in loving God fully, the foundation of our life to the full. Come to church for each other, for thereby you will build up St. Faith’s as a healthy community. Welcome visitors, so that you can strengthen your capacity to love your neighbor.
I close with the opening lines of a poem that England’s King George VI shared in his Christmas Eve broadcast in 1939, during the terror of World War II. They are words to remember when fear or anxiety lures us towards despair.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied, ‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the
hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!’
Amen. Thanks be to God! Alleluia!