August 15th, 2019

I just had a mountain-top experience.

No, really. I was literally on a mountain, 9000 feet above sea level where the air is crisp, clean,

and very thin. It was a little sad how belabored my breath became after just a few short

steps…but I digress. The landscape was beautiful—clear skies, mild days and chilly nights—and

my body was confused about having to wear a hoodie in the midst of August. The campgrounds

were accommodating and the staff was very friendly. Thirty bishops, priests and lay ministers

from around the nation gathered together to engage in conversation concerning unity and

division within the church—a timely conversation regarding our current context. So…all had

arrived and everything was going well that first day when, all of the sudden, clouds rolled in,

lightning crashed and thunder spoke it’s judgment to the people of the mountain: “You will not

have wi-fi or access to the outer world whilst on my mountain.” For three days, a group of

highly-connected individuals who are always on emails, social media or chatting via text were

suddenly left walking around in a confused stupor, not knowing what to do.

It was awesome.

Being unplugged allowed for a deeper connection, oddly enough. Without our phones or

laptops to distract and call us back to our work back at home, we were able to be present with

one another on a different level. For three days, the Holy Spirit spoke without having to

compete with Siri.

For me, it was life-giving.

I thought about how grateful I am to have this life; there’s nothing like being a priest. I have

been blessed beyond compare to have been called by name to Church of the Resurrection, to

spread by word and example the good news of Jesus Christ, and to do so with a community of

people who consistently and continually amaze me by their faith. You. All of you. You’re so

important to me, you’re my family. Through our ups and downs, and even during the times

when you’re not here, I’m constantly thankful for you and couldn’t imagine being anywhere

else, now, alongside you.

Today marks two years at Resurrection. Two wonderful, challenging, joy-filled, sometimes

heart-breaking years. I realized something: I’ve been on a mountain-top all along. As I listen to

others of my ilk, I hear their woes and worries, their frustrations and chaos; but I also hear in

them the same love I feel in my soul when they talk about their people. It’s not always easy

being a priest—sometimes the heart-ache threatens to overwhelm me during times of conflict

and loss—but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Your clergy love you very much, you need to

know that. We’re not perfect…far from it, actually. Sometimes we say things that we mean in a

different way than perceived, sometimes we don’t have the answers, sometimes we want to

rail and scream just like you. But we ALWAYS love you. No exceptions. And here’s my message

to you, two years in:

I care for you and this place with everything I have. When I stumble, catch me. When I say

something dumb, tell me and I’ll try to do better. When I disappoint, anger, or sadden you,

know that my heart apologizes in advance. But above all, know that you and this place are a

mountain-top for me. A place where I feel connected deeply to the Holy Spirit and to all of you.

A place of exciting times and God’s work. And I hope to be your priest for many years to come,

so that we can continue being on the mountain together, in this holy community of

Resurrection. Thank you for calling me and Nicole, our lives are better because of it.


Fr. Sean+