Monday, July 4, 2011

A New Call in my Priestly Pilgrimage

I have some news that I would like to share on my blog. My guests can read about it here or you can click on the banner instead:

There are times in one' s Christian pilgrimage when one moves along to another community, another set of Spirit-led opportunities, and - in my case - to a spiritual and practical "home." The challenge for early Christian churches, according to Diarmaid Macculloch, was to choose between whether or not to heed the advice of wandering sages/evangelists, much like Jesus of Nazareth and Paul of Tarsus or local leaders who eventually would guide liturgical practices and shape Christian doctrine. Early Christians eventually began to heed the the spiritual and pastoral guidance of leaders who abode with them in their towns and villages. This was probably the case because many of them were familiar with the presence of rabbis in their former synagogues and/or it is more comfortable and possible to form vulnerable and mutually affirming relationships with a counselor, priest, friend, and/or pastor when that person lives close by and is a member of one's own social community as well as one's spiritual community too. I certainly hope and pray that is what is taking place in my life and the life of the Christians and spiritual seekers who are the Episcopal Church of St. James in the Westwood neighborhood of Cincinnati.

Today is, of course, our nation's Independence Day. Citizens of the United States give thanks for their liberties, including freedom of relocation within the nation's states, freedom of legal occupation, and freedom to worship God according to one's own morals, conscience, and the laws of the nation. I am especially thankful for these liberties this morning. I am likewise grateful that God invites people of faith to set out to new places and encounters with new people as part of their vocational sojourns. The author of The Epistle to the Hebrews writes:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

I have a sense of where I have been. I have a sense of where I am going. I have a sense of the freedoms I have experienced as an American citizen and Christian. I am grateful for these liberties that I have sought to protect as an Air Force officer and as an Episcopal priest. Thanks be to God, this nation's founders, Christian pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, monks, and other religious leaders who have called the nation's citizenry back to lives endorsing liberty, and justice for all. I am grateful for my call to St. James - Westwood and for the experiences yet to come.

Go REDS!~ Blessings Along The Way


  1. Fr. Jim - very excited to have you coming to St James. Looking forward to meeting you. It seems our Search committee and Vestry have done a great job. Nancy Jacob

  2. Hi Nancy - thank you for your welcome. I'm looking forward to meeting you and St. James' other members too.

  3. I grew up in the St James community, got married there and served on its vestry. Living in LA now, I visit my folks and St. James often. I will be so happy to meet you on my next visit. Looks like they have been blessed to have you among them. Susan MacGregor Huser