Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Remarks Article: Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Friends, this is the last newsletter article I shall write as a member of the pastoral staff here at Saint Mark. Not one day has passed that I wasn't grateful to serve here. It is a privilege, a blessing, and your witness to me has changed me forever. When I arrived at Saint Mark on Pride Sunday 2007, Matt and I had two toddler boys with crazy heads of curly hair. You welcomed us with open arms and as I marched in my first Pride parade, I knew that my life would never be the same. I've never known such joy and gratitude. In our 7 years here, you have nurtured us from a family of 4 into a family of 5. You have become our friends, guiding us and our little family as we all grew together. 

As we begin the painful and difficult process of packing and preparing to move to California, we have been flooded with love, support and well wishes. The leaving of a place that has become more than a community - it is our home - is never easy. I find myself overwhelmed with emotion at the simplest of things: driving down Ponce, admiring the friendships my children have formed, coffee. This is because my heart is so full. 

I have stumbled on a strange truth in the story that my family and I are living. God's faithfulness is beyond my comprehension. The last few months have not been easy as we've waited and hoped. But, here is what I have come to know: you have prepared me for what is next. I don't just mean taking on a church as the senior pastor. You have prepared me, uniquely, for the work that God needs to be done in Laguna Beach. Were it not for my ministry here, I would not have been shaped in the precise way that would be necessary for me to advocate for the LGBT community. My call is now, and has always been, to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, but I never could have imagined that my vocation would allow me to serve as an advocate for all in such mighty ways. Our work is not yet done. And now, I have the strength, wisdom and insight to fight even harder for full inclusion. This may mean some painful times ahead, but I will fight for and with you as long as I am able. 

To say that my heart is broken to leave is an understatement. But my heart is more full than it has ever been with the love and assurance from you, that our ministry together will not cease, it will simply be done thousands of miles apart. My family in Christ, my beloved Saint Mark, thank you. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for being courageous. Thank you for shouting, singing and witnessing to the truth that God's love is now and has always been the tie that binds us. 

In this, my heart rests. My heart is not troubled. I am so grateful. My love, peace, and gratitude are yours always, 

Rev. Mandy

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