By Grahame Stap
Published: June 2008
As of May the 1st I will be retired. I will no longer be a full time rector of a parish church. As you can imagine this is both a time of excitement and concern. I am excited about the future and all it holds and at the same time concerned about the people and community of St. Alban in Glen Williams.
I know the future is uncertain in regards to health and ability to do all the things I would like to do. My mind is still 30 years old but my body is not. I know I can't do all the things I used to do but I can still dream and so the possibilities are endless.
My wife Ina and I are moving to our summer house 50 km north of North Bay. I can hear most of you saying, "Are you nuts? Why would you move so far north?" Well my wife is from New Liskeard which is another 150k north, so to Ina where we are going is south. Also most people do not realize North Bay gets less snow than Muskoka and most of the time is not as cold in the winter.
We are lucky enough to be right on the water and the fishing is great. The stars at night feel so close you could reach out and touch them and the air is pure and clean. We are also going, God willing, to spend the first three months of each year in Portugal. Hey! I said it was not as cold I did not say we were going to be there.
There is a possibility of my helping out at St. Simons, a small church in Temagami. So I hope I will still get to preach and celebrate from time to time.
As you can see the future looks exciting and full of promise. However, all of this will not stop the concern. Concern for the Anglican Church in general and concern for St. Alban in particular. Who will be the interim? Who will be the new priest? Will St. Alban continue to grow? I don't know the answers to any of these questions so I am concerned.
The past five years we have all worked very hard to try and understand what our church is about. We have spent a lot of money on our buildings. We have redone the hall and the Alban House, increased the Sunday attendance and doubled the givings; but I still wonder if we really know what the church is about. Are we and many other churches still sitting in our comfortable pew?
I guess I am as guilty as most of us and I forget the power of God working within us is what the church is about. I forget that all we have accomplished was guided by the hand of God. The Holy Spirit who lives in all our hearts gives us purpose--a reason for being. Of course we are concerned; of course we are afraid to take risks; of course we do not want change and of course we want to make sure we have money in the bank in case something unforeseen happens. We are after all human beings so we are concerned.
We forget nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten. Those who seek God shall never go wanting. (Hymn 568 cp)< It is our nature to worry, to be concerned, but I am going to try and put my concerns in the hands of God knowing the people and parish of St. Alban will be OK provided they and the Diocese allow God to do God's will.
I would like to say to the people of the Church in the Glen thanks for your love and your support during the past five years. Together with God we have come a long way. Thank you for taking risks for leaving your comfortable pew and for allowing me to be your priest. May God always bless you and hold you in the palm of his hand forever.
Many thanks to Grahame for his terrific contributions to our paper while he was Rector of St. Alban's. Grahame has just written a book: It's not complicated God loves us (but this is only my opinion), available at www. lulu.com. We look forward to his future contributions to our paper!...
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