The old year is gone; the new beginning, and this is the time to review the last twelve months and thank God for them. Here are some highlights of my past year.
Bishop Keith Ackerman preached at St Clement’s on the Epiphany to inaugurate our 150th Anniversary Year. Now he has left the Episcopal Church, though still within the Anglican Communion.
Later in the month, Grant & I visited old friends from London in Palm Springs.
The funeral in St Mary the Virgin, New York, of Fr Charles Whipple, an old friend of St Clement’s and a Guardian of the Shrine of Our Lady of Clemency, who has left a very generous legacy to St Clement’s.
To London for a surprise party for Marc our web master’s 40th birthday. Surprises can be a disaster, but this one worked. Marc arrived at the London Eye with his partner, thinking he was just meeting me for dinner, and suddenly he was confronted with twenty friends from England, Scotland, and America. We had champagne and canapes as the Eye lifted us over London; then more champagne at St James’s Palace in the Chaplain’s apartment; then a riotous dinner at the Carlton Club.
After this, I had a couple of days in Edinburgh and then one night at Sharrow Bay in the Lake District, which was the first “Country House Hotel” in Britain, setting a very high standard, which it still maintains, even after the death of its two founders.
I welcomed an old friend, Bishop Idris Jones, to preside and preach at St Clement’s. I knew Idris first when he was a seminarian at Edinburgh Theological College and now he was Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. You may not be surprised to hear that this was the first time he had ever worn a cappa magna!
I had a lovely week in glorious weather driving with Grant round Virginia and staying in great country inns such as the Inn at Little Washington, the Williamsburg Inn and the Inn at Perry Cabin in St Michael, Maryland.
Labor Day weekend in Lewes, Delaware and Rehoboth Beach with good friends from Washington, D.C. One friend, Tom, I have known since 1967 when he lived in D.C. and I in Edinburgh. Little did we think then that forty years later we would be living so near to one another.
These are only a few of the highlights. Most of the year has been here at St Clement’s with its wonderful round of daily Mass and Evensong, the rest of the Divine Office said privately (and in Italian ever since I was Archdeacon of italy!). Seven wonderful weddings, with all the preparation and follow-up that they involve, baptisms and funerals, hospital visits and the ordinary work of a parish priest, which I am still sure, after 42 years, is the best job in the world.
As I enter 2010 I give thanks to God who has led me this far through thick and thin and, I am sure, will be true to what is expressed in my favourite Prayer Book Collect :
“O God, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding, pour into our hearts such love toward thee that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire”.