THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION
NORTHWOODS, MISSOURI 63121
September 27, 2015
Dear Friends in Christ,
Please accept my deepest gratitude for your support, prayers and many kindnesses during the days and weeks surrounding Mary’s death. Although an extraordinarily difficult journey, we knew that we were not alone – that friends, family and our God walked with us.
Despite the pain of her loss, there also were more than a few moments of profound joy, most notably in sharing the many ways Mary touched our lives. Her “coupon ministry.” Sorting and organizing the clothing for our food pantry clients. Assisting acolytes with their vestments. Planting flowers and shrubs. And, so much more!
We miss Mary and always will. But even as we grieve and our tears continue to flow, we are reminded of St. Paul’s unequivocal assertion that, “… I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). Mary believed this. My prayerful hope is that together we will joyfully proclaim this same faith. Death doesn’t get the last word. Resurrection does!
I am planning to resume my parish responsibilities on Sunday, October 11. I especially want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to both The Revs. Deb Goldfeder and David Fly for their faithful service and gentle care of our Ascension family during my leave. I also offer special thanks for all who planned Mary’s funeral repast, prepared and served the meal and cleaned up afterwards.
The anticipation of stepping back into my pastoral role is both welcomed and frightening. On the one hand, I look forward to sharing the “Good News” of Jesus Christ with you in Word, Sacrament and daily ministry. On the other, I have no idea what my priesthood looks or feels like without Mary at my side. I ask for your patience and prayers as we work through this together.
Speaking of “sharing the Good News,” we will celebrate our 18th Annual Gospel Jubilee on Sunday, October 25 at 4:00 P.M., followed by dinner in the Parish Hall. Please invite your family and friends to help us lift our voices to the Lord.
Finally, we mourn the death of our dear friend, brother and priest: The Reverend Emery Washington. The clarity of his faith, prophetic witness of his ministry and his cultivation of a robust Black presence within The Episcopal Church are gifts we always will treasure. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, 7401 Delmar Boulevard in University City, on Saturday, October 17 at 4:00 P.M. Rest eternal grant to Emery, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him.
May God continue to bless you with a loving heart, a servant’s hands and a joyful spirit.