Priest's Letter - June 2021
On Pentecost Sunday, May 23, we welcomed the Rev. Can. Melissa McCarthy in representation of our Diocesan Bishop, John Taylor. She spoke words of encouragement, elaborating on how at the end of this terrible pandemic it is common to think and act in extreme ways. Keeping a balance is, indeed, difficult, and that is true also for our parish as a system of people who are interlocked with each other in terms of the organization and also tied by mutual friendship and affection. The parish priest is at the center of any turmoil. This is simply how it is. It is a consequence of the fact that the final decisions on any matters (except, notably, all financial decisions and the employment itself of the priest) are in the hands of the priest himself. This is, some would say, a serious limit of the kind of church that we are. I am involved with an Italian organization, of which I am the founder and president, where we do not make any decision until a complete consensus is reached within the board (except minor decisions that the board has already delegated to a board member). The system is very interesting, extremely demanding, and subject to a total impasse as soon any new board member is not in sync with the history and the intentions of the organization. This has happened, and has brought the group very close to its demise at one time. That is only to say that I am aware of other forms of governance, and that I believe in the institutions I serve enough to insist on performing precisely the role that I am asked to perform, and ask others to respect the same.
But the "koi pond controversy" that has emerged recently in the parish (no kidding!) has also other sides to it. We are all aware of the financial conditions of the parish. We have been trying different things, sometimes successfully, yet we have also been beaten down by the pandemic to some extent. Right now, we are going to open our new garden to the public and focus on it as a ministry of hospitality. We don't know what this will mean for our continuation, but we have become collectively responsible, by means of a long process of consultation started in 2019, for such new ministry. The fear of demise, with the koi fish being the symbol of the parish itself, is real. But, in reality, nobody within our parish is trying either to kill the koi fish or the parish. Our job is to be united in our efforts, to trust the Holy Spirit without pretending to know where we will be led next, and not to listen to the voices that instill doubt and despair.
I hope to see most of you on Saturday, June 12, for the planting day in the new garden, which will include a tour of the garden also for those who cannot participate in the planting itself and a moment to discuss how to staff the opening hours of the garden itself. And brunch!! (See below GARDEN NEWS for details). It is such a joy to see the curbs of the paths being installed yesterday and today! "It's becoming a place!" one of us has said. Many thanks to Patricia Betzhold for her tireless coordinating efforts and technical expertise, to Ashanti Smalls for his careful design and continued oversight, to James Betzhold for his many hours of work on site, and to all the others who in earlier phases have contributed their ideas and work.
We are also celebrating mass inside our building again! The restrictions that we are experiencing inside, as opposed to outside in the courtyard, are perhaps annoying but hopefully balanced by the joy of experiencing yet another step toward full recovery from the pandemic.