31 May 2022
Dear Beloved Saints of St. Philip,
I am not usually at a loss for words; but it is hard to know quite what to say in response to the amazing farewell celebration we shared on Sunday. It was truly a blessed event. Any words feel totally inadequate. In every way the service and luncheon following were a tremendous gift of love and beauty. It could not have been more lovely. Every part of this event felt absolutely filled with light and grace.
Heather and I have sat together and read through all your cards and comments in the visitors’ book. Your gracious thoughts, insights and kind words have deeply and richly blessed us as we move in this time of transition from the known into the unknown.
We feel quite overwhelmed by your generosity, especially in the financial gift to us, which we hope to use in a special way remembering you all with great fondness. We were deeply touched by the magnificent comfortable chairs and all your expressions of tender affection.
You have been a profound gift to us and our whole family. We will carry you in our hearts always with love and affection and cherish the many memories of the journey we have shared together as “tribe and fire”. We believe the spaciousness, strength, and deep faith in Christ that have been our focus at St. Philip will prosper into the future. We are grateful for the commitment, faithfulness and leadership that has sustained this community for so many years. We believe that the Spirit of Christ will continue to move you forward together as a luminous expression of the divine light and life that were so evident in our gathering on Sunday.
God Bless you all, Christopher and Heather
In the spirit of Ascension Day I hope you might take a few moments to listen to Richard Rohr’s powerful and insightful homily delivered on the Feast of the Ascension on 1 June 2020:
I was especially touched by Rohr’s statement, which I meant to quote in my sermon on Sunday, that: “Presence and absence are co-related terms. You have to have absence or you don’t desire Presence.”
As my final word, I hope we might all take hope and guidance from the poem I read in my sermon on Sunday:
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
* * *
Recording of 10am service on 29 May 2022: Ascension Sunday and Christopher's farewell service.
- Photo retrospective (silent) starts at 10:48
- Music (with audio) starts at 20:22
- Liturgy starts at 38:05
- Children's talk with Ruth & Bruno (#AskChristopherAnything) starts at 45:00
- Sermon starts at 1:02:25
- Gillian Fosdick's address starts at 2:12:16