Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bishop Nedi Says Goodbye

Farewell Blessings!
My Dearest Brothers & Sisters, 

     These last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Instead of trying to capture it all, let me just reflect on a few highlights. After my long drive to Ohio to clear out my office, I flew back the next day to celebrate the Triduum with the folks of St Matthew's, Ontario. We had a holy time, and they were good sports as I sang new songs in my sermons and they sang right along with me. I suspect that is a theme of my time in EDEO -- we have sung new songs!
   Then I was back in Cove to begin preparations for Patrick's Ordination and Consecration in earnest. Pulling and weaving all those threads involves so many people. The Transition Team, Patrick and I were busy sending emails back and forth for over two weeks.  Kudos especially to Kathy Macek who brought her calm wisdom, liturgical smarts and helped me through the numerous formatting issues. In the meantime there have been wonderful farewell events and presents including a lovely day in Imnaha with Arnold and Jean Coe. I'm so glad we finally made it up there . . . even if I was about five years late. 
     Bright Sunday I was at St Luke's, Lakeview. Rich Landrith had retired Easter Sunday and so we had a long conversation about the future. A hopeful group of folks stepped up to the plate to help lead worship for the near future. Who knows what God has in store for them? Please keep them in your prayers.
     The following Saturday we celebrated renewed ministry at, and welcomed Charlotte Wells to, Church of the Redeemer in Pendleton. Like Lakeview, I never know what pretty tables await us there.  I was thrilled that so many clergy and laity came from other  
congregations to welcome Charlotte and celebrate with Redeemer. It was a terrific day.
     My final visitation was at St Thomas', Canyon City. Saturday we toured the area to see what has happened since the fire last summer followed by a wonderful supper which included elk stew (which I won't get much of in Ohio) followed by a lively game of  Jokers
     Beth had told me there were two confirmations, but that message went completely out of my head until Susan Church greeted me at the Peace and asked about them! It was a wonky liturgy and one that 
brought tears to my eyes as Jim Spell and Dennis Reynolds surprised me by coming forward to be confirmed! We also dedicated a beautiful new banner made by Diane Adams Higbie . . . you might notice the inspiration for it at the top of the pic of me with confirmands and their sponsors
     That afternoon I drove to The Dalles to deliver the liturgy to the printer and to say goodbye to Ed and Patti Browning on Monday. It was a gorgeous day for a  
drive and Hood River was showing off all her beauty to me that day too. Later that afternoon I drove to Bend and I'm here meeting with folks, awaiting the Presiding Bishop and his spouse, my own spouse and the celebrations this weekend. Hard to believe we're here already . . .  after seven plus years. (How did thathappen?!)

     It has been a long and beautiful run. I remember the day I first met the EDEO Standing Committee. We laughed and talked and shared dreams about what the Church (and a diocese in particular) were called to be. They honored me with a call and we celebrated that call together at Cove High School with amazing lilacs and fabulous music and a 'great crowd of witnesses' followed by good camp food and fun at Ascension School.    
      I have loved sharing ministry with you: with Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, special committees and new Commissions. I'll always remember Council Retreats which were real retreats, and the times when we shared space with the diocesan youth -- who would always beat us at Hoopla! 
           We have celebrated life, death, Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, ordinations and weddings together. We have studied Scripture and become more and more a Missional Church: from tallying hours of ministry to beginning new ministries in our communities, from serving local community meals to serving in Haiti, from new ministries by the laity to new clergy in EDEO. We have prayed and prayed. We have 
rejoiced and cried. We have created cool stuff and learned about God in surprising ways. It's been quite a journey.
     I remember miles and miles across Eastern Oregon: gorgeous mountains, stunning buttes, rainbows and double rainbows, living waters, burnt forests, snow on Highway 97 that stopped me in my tracks, pouring rain on Cabbage Hill, and naps in rest areas along the way. 
     I have eaten good food, sung fun music, played games, hiked on mountains and in canyons, seen wildflowers, prayed in hospitals, sick rooms, cemeteries, been a camper, and worshiped with terrific congregations. 
     There were loving and wonderful Thanksgiving 
celebrations, camps and conferences, time for long conversations, swimming, Contra dancing, creative worship, and an amazing revival.
     There were low points too: times when I blew it, when instead of healing I brought brokenness, instead of wisdom I acted wrongly or stupidly, times when I was late or a no-show, or needed to change my schedule in a way that didn't really work for you. I remember those times too,  
when I let you and myself and God down. For each and all of them, I ask your forgiveness. 
     Finally, let me say something about Diane, Tiiu, Makenzie, Jerry, Lisa and Patty. No one could ask for better co-workers. They are rock stars -- working always above and beyond the call of duty, giving time, energy, faith, love and hope. 
They (with you) have taught me to be a bishop and have stood by me and by EDEO -- bringing God's love into everything you do . . . and thus everything we do. 
     It has been a marvelous adventure. I will miss you. You have been means of Grace. I love you. Thank you for calling me, for the times we have shared and for loving
me. Thank you with all my heart.  I will keep you in my prayers. Come and see us when you are in Ohio. We have a roomy guest room.
     I know Patrick will love you too, will challenge you in new ways and be a holy companion on the next leg of your journey. May you receive a double portion of the many, many blessings you have given me in abundance, my dear friends.
      God be with you as you move forward with new hopes and new possibilities.


PS We  have just come back to our room after the Friday night party. I feel known and loved, graced and surrounded by the Spirit. Thank you for a wonderful evening, for fabulous gifts, for precious memories. I will open your cards and read your notes one at a time . . . one a day to appreciate them over the next few weeks as I adjust to my new life and new schedule . . . or lack thereof. Blessings always.
Scottish Blessing
May the blessing of light be on you- light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you, 
like a candle set in the window of a house, 
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you, 
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star. 
And may the blessing of the earth be on you, 
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads, 
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God. 
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.

From Celtic Blessings & Prayers byJohn Birch, Kidwelly, Wales 
Used with permission.