As I finish up my priestly ministry with you at Good Shepherd, I wanted to put a thing or two literally in writing. The other, much more personal things, I wanted to say in person - they are along the line of how much I have enjoyed our time together.
The most obvious and logical question I am being asked is, Where are you going after this? Good question. I wish I had a factual answer. I do, however, want to give us all the same information.
There are parts of our faith journey, when and where, we step out in faith and go where we believe we are being led. Some of my faith journey has been fairly routine, while other steps have probably left people scratching their heads in utter bewilderment. What I know to be true - as I preached about most passionately in my last sermon - is that the Good Shepherd never stops searching for us when we are lost in our faith journey. Never. No matter how it feels.
Because I know that to be true, I can now step out in faith that I am being led. I was able to stay put and be in the same pasture as you from 2016 to 2019. This was healing for me to simply be; I did not have to prove my worth by trying to do or to accomplish. Father Bill kindly shared the priestly ministry here with me of being behind the Altar, and in the Pulpit, and next to the bedsides of those who were in their last hour of life. Father Bill also gave me his complete support as the gentle nudges from my spirit were prompting me to be open to the direction of the Holy Spirit. And the only way I am going to be able to do that is to leave my comfort zone and enter into the unknown.
Where are you going after this? Well, I can write with certainty that I am going back full time to Signal Mountain in order to be more involved with the selling process of a house. It is not fair for Anne to have to shoulder more than her fair share of the responsibility in our marriage to sell our home.
Though I am not sure where I am going vocationally after Good Shepherd, I have been talking with colleagues and mentors. They are part of the much-needed discernment process of what that next step is in my faith journey as a priest:
Where will it lead me? When will I go? How is it going to happen? I do not have answers to the previous questions; nevertheless, Father Bill is one of my references. In turn, you all will be some of the first to know where the faith journey for this priest has led him. I am leaving this pasture for pasture's unknown, but I leave far more healed than when I first arrived.