Most of you are probably familiar with the term, “pulpit supply.” Within the Anglican tradition, it refers to the practice of providing a clergy person to preach and/or celebrate Holy Eucharist when the rector is away. In our Diocese, the Bishop provides churches with a list of priests and deacons who are qualified, trusted, and available to meet this need. Immanuel primarily has turned to Father Tim Howe and Father Richard Crocker as “supply priests,” and it is a gift to have each of them as a known, trusted presence in my absence.
My family and I will be in Colorado this weekend for my niece’s wedding. It turns out both Fathers Tim and Richard are out of town as well, so I looked through the list provided by Bishop John to find another priest to lead the service this Sunday. Father Dale Smith caught my eye, and we had two long phone calls last week so we could get to know each other. It is important to me to take care in whom I invite to step behind the altar and pulpit! As we talked, Father Dale remarked several times on the importance of knowing Jesus, rather than just knowing about Jesus. That’s when I began to feel particularly encouraged about extending the invitation to him. Here are a few more things I learned about Father Dale.
The Rev. Dale Smith has been in ministry for 49 years, most of that time serving churches in California and Arizona, while also working as a programmer. Currently he is retired, living with his wife Frances in Emporia, Virginia. A fluent Spanish speaker with a creative, caring heart for the Spanish-speaking community, both he and Frances instruct ESL as a part of the ministry of Resurrection, one of our Diocese’s church plants. (I found Fr. Dale to be a living example of our “Creative Connecting” and “Intentional Diversity” priorities—there’s some wisdom there for future tapping.) He knows the Holy Spirit still moves in power today, has been shaped by Cursillo, and has walked with Jesus through a wide range of experiences. Please join me in welcoming Fr. Dale and Frances to Immanuel, and praying for him as they prepare to minister to us.
My family and I return late next week, and already look forward to being back with you on Sunday, July 25. Deacon Sallie, as always, will be present for any pastoral needs during my absence. I’m grateful for her availability during the week, and the support she always provides our visiting priests on Sundays. Tyra, of course, with her steady faithfulness and skill, is available during office hours (9am-1pm M-T, Th-F) for any administrative questions.
Please remember that this week is when we continue easing the COVID restrictions for our services. I encourage you to revisit the “Special Update” from last week. And read the announcements below for further information about our life together, paying particular attention to the notices about the “Listening Tour” and Alpha.
Your Pastor in Christ,