Sunday, June 24, 2007
Today was Father Bill's last Sunday.
Our whole service was wonderful. It was a series of messages of love, from us to Bill, from him to us. We did it by singing together, saying our liturgy together and hugging each other out the door after the service. Different people cried at different points of the service.
For me it is always the hymns. I'm usually a basket case during times like this. When we left our Seattle parish, they had a tradition of singing a song about God lifting you on eagle's wings. I almost couldn't sit through the service, knowing they would call us up to sing it to us. And sure enough, I blubbered away while they did it.
Bill did great. He even picked one of my favorite hymns... (Lift Every Voice and Sing). He picked the Navy hymn in honor of all the mens' fishing trips which was fun. He picked moving solos from our stellar choir, and lots of hymns with descants.
Bill was the reason we came back for a second week to our wonderful church. We drive past at least three Episcopal churches on the way to St. Marks. But on our first week there, we had little Emma (age 3) and little Max (age 1) at the communion rail. I was brought up in a church that started giving kids communion when they were in school. That first St. Mark's Sunday, we were at the rail, and Max held up his baby hands for a wafer. We'd never practiced with him, so I indicated that he needed a blessing, not wafer. After the service, Bill came up to me and asked if Max had been baptised. I said yes. He then told me that Max was as entitled to receive the sacrament as anyone else who was baptised.
I was so impressed that a priest would give us nice direction on our first visit. So we came back.
I also remember the day I first started telling people I was expecting baby 3. When I told Bill, we'd have a baby in late September, his response was, "Fantastic! an All Saint's Baptism!".
I had the honor of attending many meetings with Bill. I always felt like his Adult Education classes were the most challenging I'd ever attended. But I most loved getting birthday wishes and anniversary wishes via his phone calls for every one of our family's special days. Over our 7 and a half years, that was about 40 phone calls!
And surprising me most today, was the fact that I only ALMOST cried twice. Most of the time I was just happy for our church for having him, and for St. Mark's being such a neat place. My tears got ready to drop, but pulled back right at the last minute each time.
Of course I'm crying typing this.... because I'm happy.