“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
There are so many “I remember when’s I will have of St. Marys. Here is a favorite I will share:
I remember when during the search process having a tour of the campus, we started off at the front entrance of the church. As I walked in my eye caught the baptistery. Jenny and I looked at each other as if to say “yes!” Over the years it has become more of a chapel for me, a safe place and space, filling my soul with worship and silence. Over these five years as your rector, it is a space I’ve spent many hours in prayer, worship and meditation often drenched in the color and hue of the stained-glass windows. The chapel will always hold a very special place in my heart and soul.
During these five years, I have been enriched, encouraged, enfolded, challenged and felt wonderfully supported. I conclude 43 years of full-time ministry with a joyful heart and with thanksgiving for wonderful opportunities serving the Holy One over many years in various parts of the world. Our patron, the blessed Virgin Mary has been a powerful presence and gift to me, especially during these past two years, while dealing with all the challenges of Covid and battling cancer at the same time. On a daily basis I have joyfully prayed,"Hail Mary full of grace, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus, Holy Mary pray for us……..”
I am blessed to conclude my full-time ministry here in your midst, as I look forward to some of my “hope to’s”
- I hope to spend time hanging out with our grandchildren
- I hope to go to Starbucks on a Sunday morning reading the New York Times with a cup of coffee.
- I hope to have fun times with Jenny traveling. I so much want to take her to Tuscany
- I hope to spend time in my workshop creating with wood
- I hope to write that book which has been on my mind for years
- I hope to use my life experiences through social media, touching many lives for the good, teaching, encouraging, and affirming.
I have been blessed to have served you as your Priest, and assure you of my prayers as I invite you to pray for me.
As Alan shared….... so many memories and moments to treasure.
This is a bittersweet time for me as we reach this milestone in our journey! It will be wonderful to see Alan find joy, in doing everything he has planned to do, when he retires! He jokes and says that my “honey-do“ list will be long and updated frequently! Alas, I think his own “I-must-do” list will keep him busy enough! The bonus is that it will also keep him out of trouble!
I will always be grateful for the many “instant families” that God has placed along our way during Alan’s 43 years of ministry! There have been many moves in South Africa and in the USA, and each one had its peaks and valleys, but always beautiful sunsets and sunrises as we received blessings in abundance!
I recall our drive back to the city after meeting the Search Committee at St. Mary’s. We felt so deeply that this was the vineyard God wanted us to plant our roots, and receive and give fruits that will benefit us all! Indeed, it has been one of the happiest places we have been! A beautiful gift was seeing our children and grandchildren embrace it as their home church too. The memories we made with them in the rectory will always be a reminder of this happy time!
I will still be working full time at My Sisters’ Place in White Plains, but will be spending much time making, and now selling, the seasonal door wreaths that I so enjoy making! Please check out my designs and items on Facebook at Jenannscreations. Let me know if you are interested;
Of course, Grandma activities will be paramount, as always, to keep me out of trouble too.
We will miss you all and we will always think of you as our St. Mary’s family!
May God hold us all in the palm of His hand, because we do not know what tomorrow holds, but we do know who holds tomorrow!
With our Love and prayers,
Alan and Jenny Dennis