Bishop Provenzano, Ubuntu.
Distinguished clergy, Ubuntu.
Boo, Mom, Janie, Steven, Robert and William, Ubuntu.
I greet you in the words of the Most Reverend Desmond Tutu.
Ubuntu literally means “Me-We.” It is a traditional African acknowledgement that goes beyond an expression of good will or even brotherhood. It says we are one -- we are the body of Christ, joined to each other in witness to his love.
We come together today – as one-- in this beautiful rite of passage. In the words of Mother Teresa: I am what I am today because of who we all are.
Today’s installation is vivid testimony to the shared commitment of our Episcopal faith tradition.
Without Bishop Provenzano, there is no consecration. Without our Wardens and Vestry, there is no selection. Without our parish family there is no affirmation. And without Christ, there is no sanctification. And so we all come together today to make this passage possible.
This evening we are Ubuntu, “Me/We”, one, united all together to joyfully praise God and serve our neighbor.
My African vocabulary does not extend far enough to include Thank You. So that will have to do.
Thank you, Bishop Provenzano. You’ve hit the ground running. Already you inspire us with your tremendous energy, your personal piety and your clear focus on the fundamentals of our faith.
Thank you, Father Tom Coogan and Rabbi Lesile, for joining us today. It is clear proof of the warm welcome you gave us to Bay Shore and your many kindnesses since. It is an absolute joy to work with you and your congregations to serve our neighbors in need.
Thank you, Wardens Sue Peverley and Marc Johnston. I am forever grateful for your selection and for your extending this call to me. You and our very able Vestry are the true partners of my labor. I work every day with your wise guidance and with a heart-felt obligation to justify your confidence and expectations.
Thank you, Deacon Vivian Lam, Music Director Tom Bailey and Administrator Wendy Wessler, most immediately for coordinating this evening’s magnificent liturgy, but mainly for your self-less, daily dedication to serving the St. Peter’s family. You’re a great team.
Please join me in thanking our choirs, Linda Brady and the Altar Guild, for surrounding us with so much beauty this evening. Bravo. You make St. Peter’s such a special place.
And speaking of special, thanks to Dr. John Caruso, Linda Elton our President of Day School Trustees and our superb school staff and trustees. The children of the Day School are our pride and joy.
Thanks to Karen Kind and Patti Small for your vital work of faith formation in our Church School. You are the future of St. Peter’s.
And thanks to Don and Marge Middlemiss for coordinating such a lovely reception - All of which could not have been accomplished without the substantial assistance from Marc and Dawn Johnston; Sue Burns; Beryl Hayes; Angela Becker; Ida Olsen; Steve Rogers and Joan Derle - You are so giving and loving. I rejoice everyday in your work and your witness. I am equally grateful to the leaders and loyal members of all of our guilds and ministries.
Thanks to those who have shaped and sustained my vocation. My Grandmother Boo Forster, my Mom, Priscilla Sellery, my wife Jane, and Jane and Bill Muir. Your inspiration, confidence, patience, and especially your forbearance and loving forgiveness have brought us here today. You are a sign of God’s presence and help me every day to better understand the Good News of Jesus.
Finally I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In him we are saved. In him we are one – Ubuntu.
Most Faithfully in Christ’s love,