With Sincere Gratitude - Andrew Ogletree
I have been trying to think of what to say to you all, as I bid you a fond farewell. What a surreal experience we have all had over the last couple months. And yet, as I look back over my nine-month internship, I am filled with fond memories of flipping pancakes, participating in mass on the grass, Michaelmas, pub theology, helping with Eric’s ordination, witnessing the spectacle of the Christmas pageant, acolyte training, candlelight nights, enjoying fun conversations with the altar guild, getting to know the vestry, weekly staff meetings, and welcoming the bishop twice, just to name a few things.
I want to thank Stephanie for inviting me, and for mentoring me over the year. I want to thank Eric, David, Ann, Elizabeth, Lisa, and Louis for including me as part of the team, and for helping me to see what a staff that works together, and supports one another looks like.
What has been the most significant part of my time at St Paul’s has been to get to know many of you: to have meaningful and interesting conversations, to receive feedback, to share laughter and tears, and to feel part of your community. I feel privileged, and honored to have been treated with such respect and trust.
I know that things are changing, and have changed at break-neck speed because of the pandemic. And at the same time, from where I am sitting, I have witnessed how the people of St Paul’s have met those challenges with grace and perseverance, in the face of hardship and loss. One of the greatest character traits of your community is your integrity. Does that mean everyone or everything is perfect? No. Does that mean that everyone always agrees? No. However, what gives me hope, and joy in this time of struggle, and change is that your character is true to what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ: you practice loving and caring for one another, and for the wider community, not out of obligation but out of love.
With sincere gratitude, I thank you for your example and for your kindness. While I am sad to leave you, I will definitely be back to visit, and I will continue to keep you all in my prayers, and ask if you would do the same for me.
Your brother in Christ,