Dear all,

We are coming up on what I think of as the heart of the church year. Holy Week, the week beginning with Palm Sunday and running to Easter Morning, offers us a chance to live the stories that are foundational to our faith. We shout “Hosanna!” with the crowd that greets Jesus as he enters Jerusalem (Palm Sunday); we share a meal and wash feet with Jesus and his friends (Maundy Thursday); we betray Jesus and condemn him with Peter and the crowd, we weep with Mary at the foot of the cross (Good Friday); we wait through the long hours of the night, remembering the stories of our journey with God and wondering at what is to come until the light of the resurrection breaks through (the Easter Vigil); and we gasp in astonishment with the women when we return to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty (Easter morning). Living these stories through our liturgies, prayers, and hymns connects us through time and space to the Christians across history who have also lived these stories, in whose hearts these stories have also taken root.

This kind of living remembering isn’t just bound to Holy Week – it’s something we do every week during the Eucharist. The fancy church word for it is anamnesis. In the Eucharist, we participate in a meal that is far beyond what we see and hear at Redeemer. We join Jesus and his friends at the Last Supper every week, and every Christian who has celebrated the Eucharist in their own time and place. Holy Week is an opportunity to bring all those foundational stories into close perspective, to roll around in our remembering, even when it’s uncomfortable.

And parts of it are uncomfortable – though perhaps terrible is a better word: Just like we participate in the Last Supper, we also participate in Jesus’s crucifixion. We shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” with the crowd. The man we met as a baby, who has led us and taught us, whose actions as a servant we modeled by washing one another’s feet, becomes someone against whom we rail. How terrible – and how terrifying to know what we as humans are capable of. It’s a terror that I am reminded of this week as we listen to reports of yet another school shooting. We have so much capacity to hurt each other, and in the case of gun control, there is so much we could do to prevent that harm, which makes our country’s continued inaction even more awful. As a body, the Episcopal Church strongly supports efforts to end our deeply shameful and uniquely American crisis of gun violence. Here in Maryland, Bishop Sutton and Bishop Ihloff are both members of Bishops United Against Gun Violence. If you are looking for steps that you can take right now, you can call or write your Senators and Representatives using this script from the Episcopal Public Policy Network.

And yet, in the face of the terror and harm we can inflict on each other, we have so much capacity to love and serve each other, too. That is part of the mystery of Easter, part of its deep grace – that even as we have shown the worst of ourselves, Jesus calls out the best of what we contain, loves us, shows us a better way, and redeems us. What if we were to remember and relive that better way every day – serving one another instead of our own interests? What if we really did beat our swords into plowshares? It’s what we seek to do together as Christians, what our shared life in community aims to help us achieve. May our conviction and commitment to that love and grace be strengthened as we live this Holy Week together.


Dear Folks,

It was cold last Saturday morning in New York, when a group of us circled around to bury our friend Emily. She was just 37 years old, not nearly long enough, and the bitter wind matched our sorrow. And yet there was a sense of victory in the air, as well. Emily definitely had known struggle, but she also had access to unfiltered pleasure and unconditional love, and all of that gathered with us at her grave.

When she was born, Emily’s genetic code conveyed its own kind of poetry, linking letters in unusual ways and inserting spaces in stretches accustomed to connection. Her doctors didn’t expect her to survive infancy. A well-intended social worker asked her parents if they planned to leave Emily behind when they left the hospital. Developmental disabilities and deafness were part of her experience all of her life. But so were determination and an extraordinary capacity to engage with folks she loved. Emily never stopped surprising us.

At her funeral I read from John’s gospel the story of the fishermen who caught no fish. They spend all night deploying their nets on the accustomed side of their boat, and meet the dawn with nothing to show for their labor but sore backs and disgruntled spirits. I appreciate their honest effort and their exhaustion. Most of us, I imagine, can touch some sense of their frustration or anger or fear.

Then an unrecognized fellow approaches and asks them, “Have you caught anything,” and I expect their initial response was not fit for printing or polite company. “Are you kidding me,” they probably thought to themselves. “Who is this guy?” You see, if there is one rule among fisherman, especially if it looks like someone’s basket is empty, it’s that you don’t start with, “Hey Junior, how many fish have you got?” But to their credit, the disciples keep their cool and answer with a shrug of their shoulders and their empty hands.

Then the fellow suggests they throw their nets on the other side. The story continues to not record how they hold their faces or what they mutter under their breath, but eventually they try what he says, and they pull in so many fish that their nets are full to bursting. At this point they realize that they know the stranger: it’s Jesus, their friend who died and yet lives.

Try a different way, they must have heard him say. Fear not, you’re not done, you’re not alone, there’s more. What if you turn this daunting situation on its head, the story suggests, and see possibility where there seemed to be only problems before?

Emily evokes this narrative in me. The old way is most likely not going to work, she taught us. We’re in the boat together, but it’s probably not going to go in the direction you expect. But come close, see me for who I am, and there will be abundance and life in surprising ways and places, on a side of the boat you didn’t even know to look for. And maybe such an encounter means we will see ourselves differently, too. The journey together is the point, I believe, and there’s no need to worry about whether you are in first class or steerage, hired as the crew, or swimming along beside.

Emily showed us that less is more, that limits are gifts, and that a “too much world” might be made manageable in smaller bites. She thrived on dependability and regularity, and who doesn’t, really? She was happy to meet anyone, but if we were going to connect, we had to do it on her terms. Fair enough. Love and thriving are often where the world and we least expect to find them.


Alongside the lie that we human beings live a life separate from that of the divine life at our core, is the lie that Rest is of little use except as a necessity when we lay our heads on our pillows at night. Hogwash I say!  Just like quantum scientists admit a great mystery at the core of the cosmos as they know it, I believe Rest is the mystery of living more fully on planet earth. Why else should we “Remember the Sabbath Day…?” (Shabbat)

Dr. Meeks, who is the Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, wrote a recent article, “Rest As an Act of Resistance.”    In it, she quotes Tricia Hervey, a woman activist and founder of The Nap Ministry whose primary work centers around the concept of Rest as more than relaxation.  Dr. Meeks, though chiefly speaks to people on the margins who are oppressed by systems that respect their utility with little respect or compassion for their dignity as human beings who carry the image of GOD within.  In a recent article, she stated that “folks who are oppressed believe they have no right to rest… Along with this is the deep sense of having to stay vigilant in order to barely stay a few steps ahead of all of the negativity that the forces of oppression offer.”   Neither of my parents, nor their parents, nor anyone we knew ever considered the thing called “retirement.”  What was that, anyway?

I believe, though, that REST in its truest form is an act of resistance for anyone who begins to understand themselves as more than what they can express or do at any given moment in time.   If we accept that our bodies actually carry the precious cargo of the divine image within, we can accept that our bodies are holy by right of what they carry.  And if our bodies are holy, then they have the right to be treated respectfully, with dignity and honor.  The external landscape must never dictate the realities of our unseen and internal landscapes.  Our flesh suits carry real treasures inside.

We may intend to do more, but those who have been hospitalized for physical or mental exhaustion will tell you that such an intention can result in a dreadful impact on their lives and the lives of those whom they love.

So, when was the last time you stopped to simply enjoy being alive?  When did you last take a nap?  Don’t wait too long to do so.  Everyone deserves to do something good for themselves that does not include dollars of any kind.  Be good to yourself.  Daydream—take a nap—they are both good for your soul.

Freda Marie+

I am reflecting this Lent on the practice of Presence; and I am practicing being more fully present where I am, with whoever I am, with whatever they and I are feeling.

I am practicing keeping my body, mind and spirit aligned and integrated: keeping my mind where my body is, and keeping my spirit and my heart there, too.

Sometimes, it’s easier to do than others.

Last night, as many of us sat in the church and listened to Professor Richard Bell speak about the reverse railroad, and adults kidnapping children, and slave owners favoring 14-year- old, light-skinned enslaved girls because they had just the right-sized fingers to pick cotton for 12 hours straight, I had to fight to be fully present in that room. I had to breathe, and walk, and pace, and breathe and walk, some more.

Sometimes, being fully Present is easier to do than others.

In the Gospel lesson this weekend, we will hear and see how Jesus practices being fully present with the woman at the well, and how she does the same, with him. He doesn’t run away, nor does she. He stays present enough to see her, to really see her. And what transpires is transforming and transformative.

Being present, showing up fully with all of who we are, and not rushing to fix or solve or analyze or understand or judge or say or do anything, but rather, to simply Be –  Be With – can be especially difficult when the person we are with is someone we love who is dying.

I recently had the opportunity to write about how my mother’s passing provided me with an opportunity to try and be as fully present as I could be, beside her. I thought I’d share what I wrote with you.

Thank you for the gift of your presence as we walk the Way together at Redeemer.



I am eating pistachios – unroasted, unsalted – and thinking about you, Mom.

I don’t remember when I first became aware that you enjoyed eating them.

I don’t remember you eating them when I was a child growing up, or when I came home from college, or when Grace and I came to live with you and Dad that summer I had to start my life all over and begin again, in Timonium.

No, it must have been later: your pistachio-kick must have been a “late-in-life” thing.

Or maybe, could it be, that I just never noticed before?

Noticed the great big jar of pistachios on your kitchen counter, to the left of the fridge?

Noticed the Ziploc bag of pistachios that you had already freed from their shells, so you could enjoy eating them liberally whenever you wanted to, without having to bother with the shells?

Noticed you cracking them open, one by one, sitting in your pink, rolling chair at the kitchen table, surrounded by projects and cards and notes and lists and your reading glasses, somewhere in the mix, with your mirror and makeup bag close by?

I remember that week leading up to just after midnight on the 4th of May, that night you finally surrendered your strong spirit, allowing it – allowing You – to let go and Let Be.

I remember how Nerissa and I took turns by your bedside in the upstairs room that had once been Lola’s room, then my room, then Nerissa’s room, then Grace’s and my room, then Nerissa’s room again, before becoming your room, and finally, your hospice room.

I remember how Nerissa and I cleared it out to prepare it for you, like first-time parents preparing a nursery, only different.

We filled up brown paper grocery bags and cardboard boxes with old books and a textbook or two, from high school and college, that had settled in side by side on the rickety bamboo bookcase, along with some dust and some papers and some other happy residents.

“Time to clear out,” was the message they all received that week, “It’s time.”

In their place, we put a wash basin and your favorite house dresses, easy to pull on and off; some no-rinse soap and shampoo; a package of Depends; and other essential items.

Like a nursery, only different.

And we brought up the flowers from the living room, those luxurious arrangements of silk flowers you assembled when you still felt well: the glorious one of yellow roses, another one with white lilies, a third with red roses.

As your range of life and living became smaller and smaller, and you settled more and more into your hospital bed, it became important to place objects in your line of vision that would bring you joy: your flowers, and photos of you and Dad (that one from a cruise, with both of you in matching Hawaiian shirts and a flower behind your ear), your daughters, your grandchildren, and of course, Olmsted, our green-eyed, snow white cat (whose regal bearing you adored).

On those last sit-ins by your bedside, I found myself eating pistachios.

I found it soothing, comforting, somehow, to eat them while sitting and keeping watch beside you, as the life and spirit that were yours slowly but surely found their way Home: the feeling and rhythm of taking a small nut between my fingers (fingers that more and more remind me of yours) and my thumbs in just the right way, applying just the right amount of pressure, slightly different for each and every nut, to free it from its case.

I’d place each newly freed jewel in my mouth and chew and swallow … and then repeat … over and over and over again …  release, chew, swallow … release, chew, swallow … release, chew, swallow …. pausing every once in awhile to gaze at your beautiful, familiar face as it lost its glow but never its character … pausing every once in awhile to place my hand in yours ….

“I release you,” small jewel.

“I release you,” Mama.

“I release you.”

I have now had the joy of watching two RYG (Redeemer Youth Group) plays come together during my time at Redeemer. Both years, I have been struck by the way the entire community has collaborated to pull off the productions. In addition to the work put in by our cast and crew of RYG members, there are the efforts of Maggie, Laura, and Val, our director, choreographer, and music director, each of whom puts in extra hours at church and at home getting the show just right. Members of the staff dedicated extra time to help produce and print our bulletins. Parents of RYG members past and present turn up to design and sew costumes; run lights and sound; coordinate props; design, build, and paint sets; stage manage; and get everyone’s hair and makeup just right. And then there are the members of the parish who, though not directly connected to RYG, donate to the bake sale, provide meals at rehearsal, attend productions, ask after our progress, pray for us, and cheer on our youth.

In the three years that I have been a part of it, this is what I have seen RYG to be about: showing up for each other to create a space where everyone feels welcomed and loved (and a space that invites a healthy amount of goofiness, too!). To me, this is an outgrowth of the love of Christ, who embraces all of us, even when we’re at our messiest, and calls us to do the same. However – if you have ever been a part of any kind of community (like church, for example), you will know that this is much easier said than done. No matter how old you are, we all have bad days – we all make mistakes – we all get annoyed – we all act out of our own pride and pettiness. The trick is how we continue to show in in spite of that, expecting better of ourselves and one another. Together, we figure out how to look through our own shame at a misdeed to take responsibility and ask for forgiveness; or through a friend’s snappishness to their fear, and offer grace in response. If we can do that, working through the icky feelings to reach and meet the desire for love and acceptance that is beneath, there is so much beauty to be found.

This is an ideal – as I wrote, bad days happen. No one is perfect. But striving to create a place of welcome and love, that expects our care and compassion towards one another and all of God’s creation is a worthy task, and the world could use more idealists. So thank you to everyone for helping RYG create that kind of place with the play and in our parish.


Listening to our brother, David’s homily last Ash Wednesday evening, took me back to the way we shared Lent in our home church of St. Christopher’s in Dallas.  Fr. Matt was our rector and I remember when he gave us all an adaptation of the William Arthur Ward poem, “Fast From, Feast On” in the church newsletter on Ash Wednesday.  I promptly took it to work with me and posted it on the bulletin board over my desk.

I remember how Charles and I used it through several Lents to help us stay focused on what was truly important to us in our lives before God.  It was such a gift.  I offer you this adaptation and hope you might find it useful too during this wonderful season of change and transformation.  May you Have a Holy (Healing) Lent.

With Love,
Freda Marie+

During Lent, let us…

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ within them.
Fast from an emphasis on difference; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light. 
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God. 

Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.

Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation. 
Fast from worry; feast on trust in God’s Care.
Fast from unrelenting pressure; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift. 

Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.

Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.

-William Arthur Ward ( Mr. Ward was an American author, teacher and pastor, and fellow TEXAN.) [1921-1994]

Dear Folks,

I am excited about the speakers who will join us this year for VOICES during the season of Lent. Thank you to the committee who imagined the people we might invite, found ways to be in contact with them, and helped tell the story of Redeemer and the VOICES series in the process: Karen McGee, Millicent Bain, Murray Taylor, Rayner Wharton, Keri Frisch, and Deborah Callard.

March 8           Dr. Richard Bell is a professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Bell’s most recent book, Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home, is a gripping and true story. Their ordeal—an odyssey that took them from the Philadelphia waterfront to the marshes of Mississippi and beyond—shines a glaring spotlight on the Reverse Underground Railroad, a black-market network of human traffickers and slave traders who stole away thousands of legally free African Americans from their families in order to fuel slavery’s rapid expansion in the decades before the Civil War.

March 15         Shane Claiborne is a best-selling author, activist, and speaker, who teaches around the world about making peace, creating community, and embodying justice. Claiborne’s newest book, Rethinking Life: Embracing the Sacredness of Every Person, was just released on February 7. He is the leader of The Simple Way in Philadelphia, and a founding member of Red Letter Christians, whose “goal is to stay true to the foundation of combining Jesus and justice.” Claiborne’s work has been featured in a variety of media, including Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN.

March 22         Dr. Joanne Martin is a historian, educator, and researcher, who founded with her husband Baltimore’s The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. Through the Museum, which began as a travelling exhibit and is now housed on North Avenue, Martin has committed her life to impacting future generations. Children are her special focus, igniting a spark in them by helping them to understand the history of African Americans.

March 29         Jason Green is an attorney, former associate counsel in the Obama White House and co-founder and senior vice-president of Skillsmart, a technology firm based in Germantown, Maryland. With his sister Kisha Davis, MD (White House fellow 2012), Green produced the film Finding Fellowship, which tells the story of how three racially-segregated Methodist churches— two white and one black—merged into one in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination. After screening the film with us, Green will answer our questions about this important story, set in Quince Orchard.

And as a special event, we will begin our series on March 1 with “house meeting training.” The evening will equip us to gather a small group in life-giving conversation. Over a simple meal, we will learn how to create a circle of fellowship, action, and prayer. Join us in the parish hall and sign up here.


Last Thursday, the Church marked the feast of Candlemas, or the Feast of the Presentation, when Jesus was presented to God in the temple forty days after his birth. As we hear and read in the Song of Simeon, Jesus was recognized as a “Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of [God’s] people, Israel (Luke 2:29-32, BCP 135).” The focus on light developed over Christian history, leading to candle lit processions on the Feast of the Presentation, and eventually the custom of blessing a parish’s candles. It’s from these traditions that we get the name Candlemas.

It’s also the beginning of Black History Month, a time when we are invited as a country to celebrate the life, contributions, history, and legacy of Black Americans. As I was reflecting how the beginning of this month coincides with Candlemas, one image in particular stood out: Harriet Tubman, the Moses of her people, carrying a lantern through the dark woods on her flight from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she was enslaved, to Philadelphia, and later Canada – lands of freedom.

Or at least, I thought that was the image I remembered. When I went back to look for it in the book I had been reading, Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, I couldn’t find it. Maybe it was later in the book, when Tubman returned to lead groups of enslaved people out of the South. But no. It wasn’t there either. I’d imagined it.

Instead, what I found were pictures of Tubman in the dark, lit only by the moon. Traveling under the cover of darkness was one of the ways Tubman and the people she freed were able to move. There was no lantern in these illustrations –the darkness helped keep them safe. Why had I imagined that there was a lantern, that light was required?

Christian symbolism and imagery often plays with images of light and dark. This is rooted in Biblical imagery for Jesus (the Song of Simeon in Luke 2:32 and throughout the Gospel of John, among others places). We chant “The Light of Christ! Thanks be to God!” as we process the Paschal Candle during the Easter Vigil. On Sunday the baptized babies and their families were given candles lit from the Paschal Candle representing that same light.

Over time, however, images of light and dark in the West have become synonymous with good and bad. Think of descriptions of Gandalf and Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, or the outfits of many Disney villains (Maleficent, Jaffar, Ursula, the Evil Queen in Snow White – they all wear a lot of dark colors). This had made it all too easy for systems of oppression, like racism in the United States, to use the color of one’s skin as the basis for subjugation and judgement. But darkness isn’t bad. Indeed, as pastor and theologian Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown writes, creation began in the dark and God blessed the day and the night. She reflects on Howard Thurman’s book The Luminous Darkness in which he reframes the definition of darkness, finding beauty in himself and in the dark, reminding us that “God is also God in the dark” (Brown).

God was certainly still God in the dark for Tubman. Accounts of her life attest to the dreams and visions by which God guided her safely along the paths of the Underground Railroad. In addition to her own survival skills that she had learned from her father, like making remedies from plants and roots, predicting the weather, which nuts and berries were safe to eat, and how to navigate by the stars, her deep faith by day and night kept her and the people she led alive (Weatherford). She carried Christ without any physical light – as Cristina preached in her sermon on Sunday, it glowed within her, her own luminous dark.

Reflecting on Tubman and Candlemas, I wonder how we can hold on to the light of Christ – a potent and powerful image that has certainly helped me through difficult times – without limiting our perception of light and dark to one thing only. After all, no one symbol or image can capture or contain the full presence and meaning of Christ (Kelly Brown Douglas, A Womanist Approach, 108). Just like seeds planted in the ground, we need the dark of the soil to grow and nurture our roots the same as we need the sun above to help us grow our leaves. We need them both. It is easy to fall into either/or patterns of thinking, but again and again I am reminded that such dualism is limiting, and often harmful. Instead of finding a lantern, I found something infinitely more powerful: the witness of one of the Saints of God, making her way through the perils of day and night, led by her gifts and her faith in God.


A member of our congregation graced me with a copy of a book she seemed to always have her nose in the first couple of times I met her.  I noticed that she had underlined, written in the margins, and generally marked the book up like I have a tendency to do when I am reading something of deep interest to me.  I asked her about it, and she showed me the title one day.  Then she bought me a copy.  It is called, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony by Deng Ming-Dao.  It is just what the doctor who lives within me ordered.

There is so much in “Everyday Tao” that I want to commend to you.  It refreshes my perspective on things I know and understand at a heart level that is deeper than my head.  Wisdom requires that an individual learn intellectually and then integrate that learning into their life so that they experience the teaching.  Experience is the real teacher.  Cellular memory matters.  That is wisdom.

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the place of non-violence and non-violent principles in our individual and communal lives.  It bothers me that as I long for active non-violence in my life, I fall short of it most of the time.  But I am persistent, and I will continue this path for no other reason than it is the opposite of the violence that is prevalent today.  By the way, some of us just hear or read about the latest murders, while others of us experience those murders closer to home.

Frankly, we are strongly out of balance as individuals, as a nation, and as a world and this lack of harmony is out of order with the created cosmos as well.  Hence, all of life—even the weather and the bees—seem wonky. (Is that a word?)

So, I have been studying and learning through Pace e Bene, the international non-profit committed to a non-violent world.  It may be a large order, but then war and the various isms we live with are much more costly because they kill the spirit of the human being who was created and destined to soar.

Can you IMAGINE even one day living creatively and without violence?  What would such a day look like to you?  Can you close your eyes and visualize a day hearing a substitute for what we commonly call News? Visualize hearing of new legislation that benefits all and leaves none out?

I cannot yet do so, but I am working on it.  I believe that the energy of non-violence that I contribute to the world balances the overwhelming energy that is being distributed ad nauseum in the present moment.  What do you think?

Dee says TAO = “the Way, the Path, the Route, the Road.”  She reminds me that we are all on our paths.  Peace and All Good on your Journey.

Much Love and Many Blessings,
Freda Marie+

Dear Folks,

I met the search committee from the Church of the Redeemer in the winter of 2015, a group of pilgrims arriving in Cold Spring Harbor on a wet and cold weekend. In a matter of hours, something surprising had sparked between us—laughter, vulnerability, a warmth that belied the weather. And now eight years of loving you stretch between that moment and today.

I’m struck by all that you’ve helped to make happen—alliances across Baltimore begun and strengthened through BUILD, houses restored with Habitat for Humanity, GEDCO moving back to York Road, Govans School now in a 21st century building, ReBuild Johnston Square offering safe, affordable housing, revitalized parks, and a model for sustainable growth… life-giving Bible studies, mid-week services, the choir school of Baltimore, worship that nourishes the eye, the ear, the heart, the soul… 125 people trained in anti-racism, regular meetings of contemplative prayer, yoga Church offered monthly… the Parish Day School growing to 3rd grade…

We have weathered a pandemic together, discovering how to gather virtually, adding live-stream capabilities that widen our weekly worship, and outfitting meeting spaces so that participants can join us from across the country. We are welcoming newcomers every week, and also studying our history to more ably engage today’s seekers. And through it all, our loved ones have been born and baptized, confirmed and married, and some have suffered and passed away. In nearly a decade of tumultuous change, Redeemer has been steady, strengthened by the opportunities to know Baltimore and ourselves more intimately, serve more consistently, and love more deeply.

Sabbath: “The room is quiet. You’re not feeling tired enough to sleep or energetic enough to go out. For the moment there is nowhere else you’d rather go, no one else you’d rather be. You feel at home in your body. You feel at peace in your mind. For no particular reason, you let the palms of your hands come together and close your eyes. Sometimes it is only when you happen to taste a crumb of it that you dimly realize what it is that you’re so hungry for you can hardly bear it.” (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking)

Now I am planning a sabbatical, which will begin in October and stretch through January 2024. My plans are still in formation, but some organizing decisions have been made. Cristina will act as priest in charge in my absence, facilitating staff and vestry meetings. Plans for Parish Day School growth and financial development for any new building projects are underway now. The program year will be planned in June. I will lead the staff/vestry/history committee retreat right before I begin my time away.

I won’t pack my bags for nine months! But, in time I hope to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, perhaps on a route from Portugal or Seville. I hope to travel to England for the first time, discovering a part of London where my long-lost Baltimore ancestor got himself into trouble and launched his “transportation” to Maryland. I hope to settle more deeply into our new house on Mount Royal Terrace in Reservoir Hill. And I especially hope to celebrate Christmas and the weeks around it with my family in a way we haven’t in over 30 years, discovering again the quiet moments of winter and the gift of sitting in the pew together.

Through the miracle of technology, I will carry a prayer book and the church directory on my phone, so you will never be far from me on my pilgrimage. Buon camino, is how travelers greet each other in Spain. I will see you on the way.