Dear Members of the SAES Community:
I love the verses from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians which were read in our churches this past Palm Sunday. These NSRV words resonate with me, and they helped me think more deeply about the nature of our association and those who serve SAES:
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death…”
Sobering words, of course, as we head to Good Friday, but also a model of goodness from Paul’s Epistle to us all. In a similar vein, closing a recent SAES meeting, Rev. Boo Kay offered a Prayer of Thanksgiving (BCP) whose words also ring true, “And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service.”
On this Maundy Thursday, I am thinking about service to our schools. Jesus showed this in a most profound way in the washing of his disciples’ feet. Today is also a good day to reflect on the Eucharist that was instituted at the Last Supper. I am grateful this year as your interim executive director to be given the opportunity to serve and support our member schools and their leaders. Speaking for all the staff, we enjoy this work if it brings some small goodness to your schools. We do not seek notoriety or even thanks; we simply want to serve.
Earlier in my career I thought my role was to help my school excel in ways that usually meant high achievement and rigorous standards. And, yes, those are hallmarks of Episcopal schools. Later, and especially in Episcopal schools I have served, more important questions came to the forefront: Are we leading young people to find meaning and purpose in their lives? Are we helping them to find the love of God? Are we providing environments where we all believe in the dignity of all human persons, and becoming inclusive communities where all equally belong? We, who commit ourselves to answering these questions with “YES!” are proving to be servant leaders. My wife, whose father was the head of an Episcopal boys’ school, and she an alumna of an Episcopal girl’s school often reminds me that her school’s motto is: "What we keep we lose; only what we give remains our own."
One last example of our tradition’s call for us to serve is from the Eucharistic Prayer C (we recited the prayer each Sunday at my church in Albuquerque). I was thinking about this prayer as I recognize the SAES staff and volunteers for continuing to find strength and the call to serve our member schools. Daily, I watch our board of trustees, visitation team leaders, visiting team members, committee members, countless other volunteers, and especially Jeanie, Pat, and Mary Katherine who commit themselves to serving our association and member schools. This prayer is often my inspiration, “Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us. Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength, for pardon only, and not for renewal. Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name.” Amen.
In closing, yesterday at a SAES staff meeting, Jeanie, Pat, Mary Katherine, and I were looking at two upcoming SAES events (noted in this Newsletter): First, “Parent Webinar: What Parents Need to Know About Social Media & Its Impact on Student Well-Being.” (With The Social Institute) May 10, 2022, 5:30 pm CST. And, “In-Person Early Learning Conference” for teacher professional development in Houston on June 23, 2022. I am proud of the planning that has gone into both important programs, and I urge you to encourage your people to attend.
Looking forward to the Joy that Easter promises to offer,
Interim Executive Director