Dear St. Mark’s,

I write this letter to you now from Claremont (the other Claremont as I have often said to you all). Our boxes have made it into my parent’s house. There are still items we can’t find (just the cost of moving). But for the most part, we are all settled in.

As I begin a new chapter of my life, memories of you and my time at St. Mark’s come to mind frequently. Though our time together was brief, it was significant to me. I grew so much, learned so much, and of course, met the most extraordinary individuals–YOU.

The gospel passage for this Sunday centers on Jesus’ teaching to welcome others–those you love, those you don’t love, and everybody in between. The act of welcoming is so much more important than we can possibly ever imagine. You all welcomed me into St. Mark’s so warmly and I know you will do the same for your new pastor, the Rev. Darin Arntson.

But there are two other parts to welcoming, which entails spending good time together, and then finally, giving a blessing when people depart–all of which, once again, you did so graciously for me. Giving a blessing when people depart, also traditionally known as benedictions within our Christian tradition, is also so much more important than we think it is.

I’ll be discussing all three parts–all integral for human life–in my final sermon at St. Mark’s.

Love you all,
Rev. Lydia