I am back from a wonderful, cold week in Yellowstone. I am still sorting through thousands of pictures, hoping for a handful of good ones. It really was a great week. We saw many bison, coyotes, a fox, bighorn sheep, moose, and beautiful landscapes in every direction. And it really was cold. I think the coldest morning it was -10. That day I wore three pairs of pants; two shirts, a vest, and a jacket, two pairs of socks and boots, a hat, glove liners and gloves. I couldn’t move too well, but I stayed fairly warm. And when I inevitably fell in the snow I was very well padded!
Since I’ve been back several people have asked when we will go back to in-person worship. The short answer is I don’t know. When we switched back to online only worship at the first of the year I said we would stay online through January, then re-evaluate the situation. That is still the plan. I certainly hope the Covid circumstances will allow us to safely return then, or soon after, but we’ll just have to wait and see. The greatest priority is keeping you all safe. I just left Montana, where the entire town of Gardiner was literally shut down because so many people were sick with Covid. (And no one, as in NO ONE in Montana wears masks!) It was a strong reminder that the pandemic isn’t over yet.
St. Dunstan’s turn to provide dinner for parishioners at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church is coming up in early March. Holy Comforter is a church with a large percentage of congregants who live in group homes because of mental disabilities or illnesses. Traditionally there has been a Wednesday night service, followed by a community supper provided by other Episcopal Churches on a rotating basis. Because of Covid that has changed. The service is now online and the meals are delivered to the parishioners at their home. We are supposed to deliver the food to Holy Comforter on Tuesday, March 1. The staff there will divide the food into meals and deliver it the next day. You can sign up to provide food or help deliver it at this link:
Finally, I want to let you know about a new role I am taking in the diocese. Bishop Wright has asked me to be co-chair of the Commission on Ministry. That is the group that helps people discern God’s call in their lives — specifically whether to ordained ministry or equally important ministry as a lay person. Going to seminary is a bit different from going to law or medical school. In those cases you apply, and if you’re accepted you go. Going to seminary is a bit more complicated. Before even applying to school you must be a postulant — someone approved by the Commission on Ministry and the bishop to pursue ordination. Chairing the commission is an important job. And it will be a lot of work at times. I am honored that Bishop Wright thinks I am up for the task, and am glad to be able to be of service to the wider church.
Below are a few of my Yellowstone pictures. The fox was a gorgeous creature! And bisons may weigh more than 2,000 pounds, but they are surprisingly agile and can run 35 miles an hour, as fast as a horse.