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The following information and photos have been shared with us by the graduates and/or their families. Congratulations to all for a job well done!

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Dear Friends in Christ,

For almost seven years I have greeted you each week as my “Brothers and Sisters in Christ.” You may notice that today I’ve greeted as “Friends in Christ,” a change I have been considering for a few months.  more...

A couple of weeks ago I met the new Executive Director of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes for breakfast. Although we’d met a few days before during a lunch meeting, this second meal together was the first chance we’d had to get to know each other one-on-one. As these sorts of conversations go, we started by sharing our backgrounds. He then asked the question I’ve been asked more times than I can count: How did you go from being Southern Baptist to Episcopalian?

The answer is far longer than we had time for that morning or for me to write today. The journey took several years, starting long before I even realized I was on that path. For the sake of brevity I’ll skip to the conclusion. I was a misfit as a Southern Baptist, something that was made clear to me in a seminary in North Carolina. In the Episcopal Church I experienced something I had not for many years, if ever. Even before I understood all of the terminology and rituals that define Episcopalians, I experienced a deep sense of belonging.   more...

This week my parents are moving to Indiana. I'm driving to West Virginia to manage the final details of the move and then driving them to their new home in Carmel. They have made many moves, most of them for my father's work but the last two during retirement. This move -- made necessary by some unexpected changes in their lives -- will be, almost certainly, their last. "Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you." So we read in the Exodus 20:12. This is, as I'm sure you know, the fifth of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses. As a child I understood this commandment to be about discipline. You honor your parents by following the rules, doing your chores, behaving appropriately and succeeding in school. In my southern family this included saying "Yes, sir" and "Yes, ma'am" when asked to do something (saying "No, sir" was rarely an option), and, as the oldest son, taking responsibility for the well-being of the family. I suppose I could look back on this part of my childhood as oppressive or restrictive. For some that would certainly be the case and I'm aware that my siblings and I do not share the exact same experience of growing up in our family. But for me, it simply was the way things were. I was one of those kids who embraced the structure and parameters that this discipline created. I honored my father and mother and -- most of the time -- was happy to do so. Over the past year as my siblings and I have helped my parents through some major transitions -- selling a house and a car, sifting through a lifetime of objects that hold memories, dealing with changes in health -- I have learned much about the fifth commandment. Caring for them and creating a home for them requires more than obedience; it requires a desire to give them as much joy as possible during these last years of their lives. We cannot be commanded to truly honor anyone, whether they be parents, members of our family, friends or neighbors. To do so only out of a sense of obedience and duty creates resentment and barriers to any sort of real relationship. To honor others is to treat them with respect and reverence, honesty and dignity, love and grace. None of us do this perfectly which is probably why God felt the need to command us in the first place. Sometimes a sense of duty is the only thing that will get us through the day. But we don't want to get stuck there. If we truly honor others with our hearts, we just might make our lives and theirs fuller, richer and more joyful. We might find that the barriers between us fall away, creating space for a wholehearted community to be formed. After all these years I'm still learning something from my parents. Thanks be to God!   more...

One of the parts of life that I always find fascinating are the unintentional consequences of choices, those that we make for ourselves and those that are made for us by others. My favorite example: The Office of Admissions at the College of William and Mary chose to accept both Stephanie and me and we decided to accept those offers, me from my home in Virginia in 1980; Stephanie from her home in Philadelphia in 1982. The result of those independent decisions—and many others that were made—has come 32 years of marriage (and counting!).

I read a sermon this week by Br. David Vryhof of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in which he wrote that “we are shaped by our choices, moment by moment, day by day, and year by year. Every time we make a choice we are turning some deep and inner part of ourselves, the part of us that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking our lives as a whole, with all our innumerable choices, throughout the whole of our lives we are slowly turning this deep and inner part of ourselves into something that is in harmony with God and with God’s purposes in the world, or into something that is contrary to them. Each of us at each moment is progressing one way or the other.”  more...

This joyful Eastertide / Dutch carol; arr. Charles Wood  Ego sum panis vivus / William Byrd    more...

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