As most of you who read this regularly probably know, I am a big fan of what one friend of mine once termed “homely sayings”. Guilty as charged! Many years ago, we had a much-loved Pastor at the church we attended in Thousand Oaks, California. One time in a discussion, someone mentioned a big “coincidence” that had benefitted the congregation greatly. Pastor Larry responded (good naturedly as was his style), “Oh, I don’t believe in coincidences (appropriate pause), I believe in incidences of grace.” I have always liked that and thought of it most recently because we continue to see many “incidences of grace” shown to St. Luke’s and to me personally.
First, the not so “graceful” news. On Monday of this week, our wonderful Sexton, Alfonso Hernandez fell while working outside at St. Luke’s. He injured himself pretty badly and will be off work for a while. Alfonso is a much-valued member of our staff and the St. Luke’s community in general and I hope you will pray for him and for God’s healing to touch him mightily. The same day, I got word that our very active and involved Treasurer, Bill Towne, took a fall and broke his hip. Bill had surgery this week to replace the injured hip and is now at home recovering under the watchful care of Margaret, aided by their grandson who has come to help. We also wish Bill a very speedy recovery. He is already back in communication and working diligently as he always does. Pray for Bill and Margaret as well, if you would, please.
None of us really needed to be reminded of the many ways in which we have been affected both directly and indirectly in the past year and a half by the COVID-19 epidemic. We will soon be losing more members who have used this period of lockdown and reflection and decided that they need to be closer to their families. In the coming weeks, Sandy and Paul Nelson will be relocating to Northern California to be closer to their son. They have been active members of St. Luke’s for over fourteen years and have served this congregation in so many capacities over that time, including terms on the Vestry and Paul serving an “elongated” term as Sr. Warden prior to and during the time we called Father Pierre-Henry to be our Rector. He has been an invaluable source of wisdom and counsel to me in my time as Sr. Warden.
Our much loved and appreciated Deacon Chris Christy and her husband Bill have decided that it is time for them to move to Idaho Falls to be closer to their son. We will say our formal good-byes to Deacon Chris and Bill on August 15 at the 8:00 and 10:00 services, but in the meantime, please also keep both the Nelson’s and Christy’s in your prayers for safe journeys and successful relocations.
Now, on to the more “graceful” things! Yesterday I had a wonderful visit with our beloved Deacon Kimball. She is still recuperating at home, but looks wonderful, is doing well and is anxious to get started with her cardiac rehabilitation program. She is as lively as ever, mobile and as she has been for many years now, actively concerned about all of us and what is going on at St. Luke’s. Her son and daughter have been giving faithful and loving care and she is, as usual, finding ways to be a blessing to all of us.
I usually try to avoid “teasers”, but please stay tuned to your St. Luke’s e-mails as I am really optimistic that by next week, we will have an announcement of the appointment of an Interim Rector for St. Luke’s as well as more specific news of the actual search process itself for a new Rector for us. There are still a few details to be worked out, but we are nearly there and absent any unforeseen issues will be able to inform the congregation officially next week.
Lastly, just a word and reminder about our current policies regarding worship and registration for worship. I have been asked why we are still asking people to register for worship since the worst of the pandemic is “over” in some people’s minds. First point is that if you follow the situation at all, you know that there has been a significant uptick in numbers both in the state of Arizona and Yavapai County. Month to date numbers for July are up 57% for the state over June numbers and up 140% in Yavapai County. The good news is that the incidence in infection of vaccinated individuals is very low and the incidence of those folks requiring hospitalization or dying from the virus are almost negligible. We are still open and hope to remain open from now on. As a matter of fact, our directives from the Diocese have been liberalized in the sense that there is no limit now on the number of people who can be fathered together inside, provided that we continue the current policy that individuals either must be fully vaccinated, or if not, to wear a mask while inside the building. The reason for the continuation of registration is so that if we are notified that someone who has come down with active COVID was present, we are required to notify all individuals present. All are still welcome, and we have been blessed with both many visitors and new members lately. We are so grateful for that and appreciate your cooperation in the hopes we can keep that going.
Sorry for the length, but I find myself unable to close this without thanking again our Staff, our Assisting Clergy, all of the many volunteers in the ministries that make St. Luke’s special, members of Commissions and Committees and our members who are such faithful ongoing supporters of St. Luke’s in its mission and ministries. Each and every one of you are just amazing and have made this period such a blessing to me personally and to our parish. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.