A year ago at this time, my predecessor, Vicar Douglas Barclay, was taking me out to lunch and passing the baton as I was to begin my short time in your midst as a partner in the work of worshipping and loving God and one another, walking humbly together, and working for justice.

What a ride!

I am so deeply grateful to have been the 34th pastoral intern in the rich history of St. Paul. I am grateful for your patience and presence in the life of your interns, and particularly in mine, as I have learned to have a deeper, richer, and more humble pastoral voice and identity.

I am particularly grateful to Megan, Kira, Paul, and Dennis, who do so much work unnoticed and behind the scenes that make St. Paul such a vibrant place that is able to witness to the Gospel in such a powerful way. They each have been blessings in my work, and I am so grateful for them.

The partnership of the internship committee, Mike Morse, Susan Lee, Eric Haugen, and Jeanne Woodward has been a refuge in the ups and downs of a year, and I am humbled by their work with me.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a word about Pastor Ross (see what I did there! J). His guidance, his trust, and his counsel are something that I will be forever grateful for. His gifts make him not only a wonderful pastor, but a wonderful human being, something that I think goes sometimes unnoticed, but it is his wry sense of humor, his own sense of himself, and his intuition have helped to partner with you all to make this place what it is.

One of the greatest joys and pains of this pastoral work in entering and leaving a community of Christians, and the tradition of writing letters to those congregations goes all the way back to the writings of Paul, who would write letters to different congregations after visiting and spending time with them.

This Sunday, we will hear and I will preach on some of the last words of the Apostle Paul to the one of those congregations at Ephesus, and then next week, my last, we will celebrate the baptism of Morgan Badzey.

I can’t think of a better way to end my time with you.

And now, I’m off to have lunch with the soon-to-be 35th vicar of St. Paul, Alissa Oleson, to keep this glorious tradition of vicarage at St. Paul alive and well.

Yours in God’s Grace,

Vicar Eric