We are blessed this Sunday to welcome Rev. Miranda Sutherland as our Interim Priest. Please pray for her and continue to pray for St. Matthew as we move through this period of discernment.
Good morning to you all.
I am deeply humbled to stand before you today as your Interim Priest starting during this holy season of Lent. I know that the departure of your previous priest was a difficult and painful experience for many of you, and I want to extend my heartfelt sympathies to everyone who is grieving his absence. Let us honour these feelings and breathe and embrace the essence of what it was for you, to have loved Father Allen, for those many years. In my hour-long chat with him on the phone, I felt his grief as well. It will take time on both sides. As I said to him, I say to you, be patient with yourselves.
In times of grief and loss, it can be difficult to see a path forward. But I believe that together, we can find a way to move through this season of change and growth. As we do so, let us honor Father Allen Doerksen’s legacy. We remember his love for God and for all of you, his wisdom, his passion, his laughter, and his commitment to this community. Let us celebrate the many ways that he touched our lives and made this church a place of love, acceptance, and grace and pray blessing on him and his new flock.
As we begin this new journey together, I want to extend a warm invitation to all of you to join me in setting the pace for this period of time, and to work with me on this path of spiritual renewal and growth, in a spirit of openness, compassion, and curiosity. Let us work to discern what is truly important, to set meaningful goals, and to make plans that will lead us towards that bright and hopeful future that is already in your bellies. Let us be willing to explore new ideas, to challenge ourselves, and to support one another as we grow and change.
As your Interim Priest, I am here to work with you, providing guidance and support as is necessary on this journey. My encouragement is that each of you take an active role in shaping the future of this faith community. And as we do this, let us also prepare ourselves for the arrival of a new priest.
Above all that, I am here to listen to you, to learn from you, and to grow with you. I am here to support you in your spiritual journey, to hear what matters to you most, to walk with you and your love-ones in challenging times that might come upon you. I am here to celebrate with you as you experience all the beautiful things of life. And, I am here to help you and to find deeper meaning in the Word and Sacrament, and to help you find the peace, hope, and love that can only be found through a deeper connection with God.
So, friends in Christ, in the coming weeks and months, we have some exciting work to do, but we are happy to know that we won’t be doing it alone. We have each other, and we have the love and guidance of God to lead us forward.
May God bless us all as we embark on this new chapter together. Amen.
Rev. Miranda Sutherland
March 19, 2023