When I think about my decision to pursue Holy Orders, I have often asked myself, “Why me? Why now?” As I look back through the years, I believe it all started in the mid-1980s when I was active in the Cursillo movement, a Christian discovery and formation movement that was popular in the Episcopal Church at that time. I was a Lay Rector for one of the retreats, and it was my first experience in helping to guide people into a closer walk with our Lord and Savior. Serving as an Acolyte and Lay Reader in our parish and having the privilege of administering the cup during the Eucharist were two actions that opened my heart and mind to a possible calling to Holy Orders.
But it wasn’t a straight line. This insight was followed by a long dry period in which I ceased even to think about the issue. It wasn’t until Carol and I moved back to California and I met a new, and now very dear, Catholic friend that the thoughts of a possible calling resurfaced. However, when I thought about it more at this point, I felt that God was saying, “Not now, you have a family to take care of,” so I trusted God and knew that we were in his hands. After many years of a successful career, the tides began to turn. Like many people in my industry, I slowly became marginalized and eventually sustained a layoff. At this point, I decided simply to retire. After making this major life transition, I suddenly found myself overjoyed without really knowing why. Again, I asked, “Why me? Why now?” Well, I should have known that God had everything under control. This newly found freedom allowed me to start attending Bible Study as well as the annual Diocesan Synods. That’s when things really changed, and my questions finally had answers.
During one of the dinners at Synod, I was talking with several people when Fr. Charles Dillon from St. Stephen’s in Oakville simply pointed at me out of the clear blue sky and said, “You have a calling!” I felt like I had been awakened from a deep sleep. This moment marked the beginning of my pursuit of Holy Orders. For the past two years, I have had the privilege and joy of attending seminary at St. Joseph of Arimathea in Berkeley and taking insightful classes such as The Narrative Books of the Old Testament, The History and Use of the Book of Common Prayer, and Moral Theology. I believe that Our Lord has clearly deepened my faith in this period. Do trials remain? Yes. But I know that God is gracious!
What gifts will I bring to the table? I still don’t really know, but what I do know is that the Holy Spirit will guide me and prepare me for God’s service. I am truly looking forward to whatever path God leads me down.
As Bishop Morse used to say, “All is Grace!