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Grace and Gratitude

"Grace and Gratitude"

By The Rev. David Crosby, Assistant Rector, July 21, 2013

Dear Immanuel Family,

This past year, I learned that Grace & Gratitude is a powerful expression of thanksgiving here at Immanuel Churchon-the-Hill. We regularly give thanks for the many gifts shared through Self, Service, and/or Substance. This is my open letter of grace and gratitude to you for the many ways you have welcomed me and Chrissie into ICOH, and have begun to shape and form me in my first year of ordained ministry.

I was blessed to come into this place with Mary Sulerud as my clergy mentor; a friend for over 25 years, we shared liturgical groundings that helped us ‘dance with one another.’ It proved extremely helpful as my start date bumped forward two weeks so I could be here with her before Mary took time away. You may recall Chrissie and I moved into the rectory as I began with you. Definitely a time of ‘out of the pan, into the fire’, but it has been all good and very exciting!

My first year was about initiation, questions, and experience which started the process of discovery, understanding, and integration. Some have wondered about my role. During the interim, I functioned as a generalist to observe the overall rhythm, life and flow of this parish. I was a ‘jack of all trades, master of none.’Even before our vocational deacon Linda Murphy left, I was cast into pastoral care matters which have always been a passion of my own ministry. Anticipating Father Randy’s arrival, I pledge him my support to follow his lead, will offer input when
asked or needed, and expect to share some things and ‘divide and conquer’ on others.

How fortunate I was to have five months post-ordination as a deacon to get my bearings as a new kind of liturgical minister. The last seven+ months as priest have filled me with such delight and great joy! If I ever doubted the Lord’s wisdom to call me, I have received affirmations, one after another, as I continue to grow into a new sacramental agent working for the Kingdom of God here on earth. Celebrating the first time as priest in December was memorable, presenting three young confirmands to the Bishop was exciting, offering a full and different Holy Week observance was a great honor, and my first baptisms at Easter filled me with such elation!

I am so grateful for the many ministers in our congregation, lay and ordained. I revel in moments where people recognize us, perhaps not by name, but in ministry as “the pumpkin church.” I am working to enhance and strengthen our relationship with Virginia Theological Seminary and the City of Alexandria. It will be exciting to share new ministry with Randy Alexander.

This past year, Immanuel has exhibited an overwhelming ‘Christ-like’ love through active engagement of one another as Christian community in action. I am excited to grow more in my ministry to and with you as we work together in our shared journey of faith. Thank you for a most amazing first year with and among you.

Peace & Cheers,