I am often asked the question, “Where were you on Sunday?” I must admit, it is nice to be missed. I am away on Sundays from time to time for a couple of reasons. The first reason being, I am on vacation, such as when I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago visiting seminary friends.
The other reason I am away on Sundays is because I am supplying at another church in the diocese. Mississippi is a rural diocese. We have small churches, especially in the Delta, that cannot afford a full-time priest. We also have churches in the diocese that are in transition, meaning they are searching for a priest. I like to pitch in and help these churches out by preaching and celebrating the eucharist with them on Sunday. These churches appreciate having the eucharist on Sunday morning rather than doing morning prayer. Since it is the eucharist that binds us together as the body of Christ, I am happy to do it for them.
Bishop Seage speaks often about striving to be one Church. When the Chapel of the Cross graciously allows me the time to preach and celebrate the eucharist at another church, we are living into that call of being one Church. After all, though I am the Associate Rector at the Chapel of the Cross, I am first and foremost a priest in Christ’s Church and that is ultimately who and what I serve.
I enjoy supplying at churches. It allows me the opportunity to meet other Episcopal sisters and brothers in our diocese. It provides the opportunity to see the beauty of our many houses of worship in the diocese as well. It also affords me the opportunity to be an ambassador for the Chapel of the Cross, and more times than not in our small Episcopal world, I find there are many connections to the Chapel at the places where I supply.
One of the places I have supplied a handful of times is Church of the Advent in Sumner, Mississippi in the heart of the Delta. Their priest retired at the end of last year so they have been in transition. At the end of May, they found a full-time priest so that my supplying days at that parish have come to an end. When I parted ways from them, they told me to tell the Chapel of the Cross thank you. Thank you for sharing me with them. Thank you for allowing me to preach to them and celebrate the eucharist with them. Thank you for living into that call of being one Church in the Diocese of Mississippi.