This past week I had the joy of travelling to the Sunshine Coast to celebrate a new priest in our deanery (area) – the Rev. Steve Black at St. Hilda’s in Sechelt.
It was my first official “welcome” as regional dean, and I was very excited. I was so excited that I made sure to get there super early. And so, I rolled onto the ferry mid-morning for the later-evening service.
After some exploring, I met up with the deacon of the church in Gibsons in the early afternoon, and we picked up the regional Archdeacon from the ferry (the other person doing an official ‘welcome’ at the service).
It was truly a gift to connect with my colleagues, and we ended up spending some time together, catching up and sharing a meal.
At the end of the meal, with plenty of time to spare, we drove to St. Hilda’s, arriving at 6.40pm for the 7.00pm service….or so we thought. To our dismay, we showed up to the church and found a full parking lot with the service well underway. As you have probably guessed by now, the start time had in fact been 6pm.
Well, we three slipped into the back of the church without putting on our robes, and sat down as quietly as we could, joining the in-progress praying community. We all hoped that nobody would notice us.
However, that was not our fate. No sooner had we sat down, then the bishop got to the part of the service where the regional dean and Archdeacon welcomed the new minister. “Seeing that they have arrived, let me now invite the regional dean and Archdeacon to the front to welcome the new rector…”
It was certainly a comical and memorable first welcome as regional dean.
Why do I share this story?
Not one person made me feel bad about our mistake. We were treated only with humour and grace. I was tempted to beat myself up about the mess-up, it’s easy for us to do, especially with ourselves I find. However, I believe God is much more interested in humour and grace, and much less interested in beating us up about things, and so maybe we should be too.
Sometimes Kingdom-building looks like just a little bit of humour and grace, for each other and for ourselves.
Thanks be to God!