Thank you, All Saints’!

Thank you, All Saints’!

I honestly cannot believe that my second internship with All Saints’ is coming to an end. As cliché as it sounds, it really has gone by fast. I want to express my appreciation to the clergy, staff, and parishioners here at All Saints’ for not only welcoming me, but most importantly, for all your roles in my formation for ordained ministry. I want all of you to be assured that the entire parish has been key in my development in both the first and second internship terms. 

Toward the end of my first internship, All Saints’ was engaged in creating a culture of koinonia within the parish. When I returned in September, I was excited to learn that koinonia is being practiced actively! Koinonia is a much deeper and more intimate fellowship than just associating with and enjoying the company of other Christians. And that is the essence of the mutual love and compassion that is the makeup of All Saints’ Parish! I consider myself to be most fortunate to have been assigned such a parish for my development.

The number of young people in this parish is probably the most exciting thing to me. We hear almost incessantly that “the church is dying.” This is not the case here. You know, Jesus mentions the danger of looking back. In Luke 9:62, Jesus says: “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” And I believe that the reason Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt is not just that she disobeyed God, but that was her punishment for not pressing on forward. Don’t look back. All of this is to say that All Saints’ is moving forward. It is also important to realize that most of the young children in the parish cannot drive themselves to church activities. Parents are also engaged! Keep this up All Saints’ and look back only to learn from mistakes AND improve on successes. 

This parish has much to offer. I would like to make a plea to anyone who feels their own calling to more active lay leadership or to Holy Orders to either the priesthood or diaconate. I have identified a few people who I believe may have a calling to Holy Orders. I have even approached them expressing this. So please, if you feel that you are being called, let Rev. Nancy know. There is no cost or obligation for inquiring! And, as you can see, even a person in their mid-sixties such as me can still be called. I want to thank All Saints’ for nurturing my call to the diaconate. May God continue to bless each and every one of you and All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Concord, NC.

I will conclude by repeating my closing sentences from my last “farewell” note back in February 2023. 

My prayer for you is also my prayer for me. Live into your Baptismal Covenant – all of it. Embrace discomfort, for this is how personal and spiritual formation is realized. Understand that no one can attain perfection, even you. It is not in our genetic makeup, and God knows this. Just continue to strive for perfection in Christ. And finally, at the end of every Eucharist, the deacon calls us incessantly to “Let us go forth in the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit” And the people of God answer: “Thanks be to God!”

Tom Lowe