Dear St. Matthew’s Family,
I have been reflecting recently on the last two and a half years and the work I was blessed enough to be able to experience while in this parish. Back in January of 2018 I arrived in the middle of the school year, which is an odd time to try and start a ministry as a seminarian. You did not blink, but instead you accepted me readily and happily, incorporating me into the life of the parish.
I think the best part of any seminary education is the field work placement. For me, my time at St. Matthew’s has kept me grounded in reality. The headiness of theology can run away with me sometimes, but being able to come back week after week to discuss the reality of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and how to make that matter in our everyday lives – that is what kept me focused for three years through this degree.
The relationships I have formed through my time at St. Matthew’s have been invaluable, and that is what I will carry forward into my next placement. This parish values each other deeply and individually, and you choose to invest your time, whether it is in person at breakfast, a mid-week event, or online through our prayer services.
This may not be the goodbye any of us envisioned, but please know that as I go, I leave with the full knowledge of your love and care for me. I leave behind my own love and care. I was taught a tradition in New Zealand, that everywhere you go, and everyone you love becomes a part of yourself. And you carry it for the rest of your life. I will carry St. Matthews with me for the rest of my life because of the love we have shared.
I always sign my letters with one of two phrases: “arohanui” which means “big love”. Or ngā mihi mahana”. Ngā mihi is an acknowledgement, and mahana means warm. It’s a way of giving your highest respect or of greeting someone with respect. So that is how I will close this farewell:
Ngā mihi mahana St. Matthew’s. I will miss you greatly.
From Mother Liz+:
Saying Good-Bye to Karen
As all of you know, the corona virus pandemic has caused a major upheaval in calendars, at a time of the year usually filled with celebrations. This is the time of school proms, of graduation celebrations, and a time when a lot of weddings take place. Our collective moments of celebration and joy have been cancelled in the need for safety, leaving very little closure for those individuals who will be moving on to the next phase of their journey.
One of these people is our seminarian, Karen Anderson. Karen came to us in February of 2017, in the middle of her first year in seminary. It did not take her long to fit in to the rhythm of life at St. Matthew’s. In her two and a half years with us, Karen has contributed much, and she has said she has received much in her time with the community.
Karen completed her time at St. Matthew’s and received her Master of Divinity degree from Emory. Like all of our graduates, we were not able to celebrate Karen’s success, but the good news is that she will remain local for the next year, so we will schedule a celebration sometime in the future. I would ask that you keep her in your prayers, as she begins her first course in hospital chaplaincy and continues her discernment with the diocese on her call to Holy Orders.
Karen, we were blessed to have you with us! We wish you God-speed and best of luck as you begin your summer of Clinical Pastoral Education, and we look forward to a time when you can return so that we can celebrate your time with us in our warm, St. Matthew’s style.