To say that the observation of my twentieth anniversary at St. John’s bowled me over would be to understate it by quite a bit. “Just a bit of cake” I thought when Tom told me the occasion would be marked, maybe a sip or two of prosecco and we would all be on our way. Well, the songs, the gifts, the congratulations from past Rectors, and the remarks from the floor really moved me, and I thank the people of St. John’s for making the day truly a special and memorable one for me.
As I said at the time, when I arrived at St. John’s I really didn’t expect to be here very long. I had just returned to the US from two years in Amsterdam, and was at loose ends and simply took the first job offered me because I needed the work. Why have I stayed? I may have been less than articulate last week when I tried to express this, but aside from the beautiful organ and devoted choir and unusually beautiful building, I am still at St. John’s because this congregation here present cares for its own in very important and fundamental ways. This parish’s practice of welcome and acceptance is second to none, and I know that I am far from alone when I say that at times of great personal crisis, I have felt cared for here. This really is a parish family. From conversations I’ve had with colleagues, I have come to know that this is rarer in parish life than you might think, and much to be cherished.
Further, working at St. John’s has been a constant education. There are many things about parish life they don’t teach you in music school, and I have been very blessed to have a place to learn those things. Whether you know it or not, you have been patient and thorough teachers.
So thank you, not just for the nice party with cake, but for making this my home for these last twenty years.