Amazed, Sad, Grateful - A message from Scott Painter

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
— Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

It has been eighteen months since I first arrived at St. Stephen’s as a newly-minted deacon and this parish’s next Curate. Now, a priest for just over a year, it is already time for me to go out of another door, onto another road. 

I know where I’m headed in geographical terms--to the south loop, to Grace Episcopal Church--but there’s still no knowing where in this adventure of faith and ministry I might really be swept off to. As St. Paul put it, “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 

While I am thrilled (and a bit terrified) to be stepping out into this next iteration of my calling as priest, I have also been more than a little sad this week. I’ve been sad, because these kinds of new opportunities and steppings-out inevitably involve goodbyes, like the one we will be saying to each other on Sunday. I will miss being a priest among you, doing daily life with you in Christian community, and learning from such passionate and wise colleagues and parishioners as you all are.

I am also grateful. Unspeakably grateful. I am grateful for the friendships we have formed over coffee, gathering for (more than a few!) meetings, marching in a parade, serving in Costa Rica, hanging out at Camp Allen, and worshiping together. I am grateful for so many opportunities to learn with you - about privilege, and systemic injustice, and intersectionality, and speaking truth to power, and Christian witness in the political process. I am grateful that you welcomed me into this community, accepted me as I am, and helped me grow as a faithful person and priest among you.

I knew in July of 2016 that the road was leading to St. Stephen’s, but I didn’t really know the marvels of being swept off to this storied place, among this beautiful people, and transformed with you for the next journey ahead. I am amazed, and a little sad, and mostly grateful.

With love,

Scott+

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