Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pastor Karen's Doing, Marvelous In Our Eyes

My St. John's colleague Sue Cook invited me to submit a message to our weekly parent, faculty, and staff newsletter, the BUZZ:
Greetings from your full-time vicar!

Since coming to St. John’s in the fall of 2004, I’ve had one foot in the Tigris and the other in the Euphrates, spending half my time at our wonderful church and school and the other half as executive director of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation.

As with almost everything in life, having two jobs had advantages and disadvantages. The greatest disadvantage was that I couldn’t spend as much time on campus as I would’ve liked.

Finally, this week – on Presidents Day, appropriately enough, which President Nixon proclaimed into being in 1970 – I ended my work at the Nixon Foundation so I could finally plant both feet firmly in the Jordan River here at St. John’s.

Just to show the indirect way God sometimes works when he calls us – and call to each of us, God definitely does – my employment decision was actually made for me, by our beloved Pastor Karen Ann Wojahn. [She is pictured above, talking to God, as I try to listen in.] Both she and I had been working half time at St. John’s. When her four-year ministry came to an end in December, I had two choices: Find another half-time priest as capable as Pastor Karen (which would have been impossible) or heed the call of our Bishop, Jon Bruno, to give serious consideration to beginning full-time ministry myself.

My work for the 37th President and his family and legacy was, like my priesthood, a vocation, a calling. It began in 1979, when he hired me as a research assistant, even though I had no background in politics. That moment (which had an element of the miraculous about it) ended up pointing to a life’s work. I was his chief of staff in New York City and New Jersey from 1984-90 and came to the Nixon Library soon after it opened in 1990.

That’s right: 30 years serving 37. To be honest, I’m already feeling a little nostalgic. But my stronger feelings this Tuesday morning (as a hail storm has given way to brilliant sunshine flooding our School courtyard) are thanksgiving and curiosity. Thanksgiving that God is enabling me to spend more time in ministry with you, your children, and my St. John’s parishioners and colleagues. Curiosity about what God has in store for us all.

Please stop by if you need me or anyone in the church office. Consider joining us Wednesdays at noon at our healing service in the Chrysostom Chapel, or join us for worship Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 8 and 10 a.m.

Most important of all, ask yourself this question every morning: What is God’s call to me today? If we really listen, we’ll be astonished at what we hear.

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