As I mowed the overly luscious lawn on this glorious Sunday, I had time to reflect on this awesome, Spirit-filled weekend. Mike and I are the very proud parents of Bridget Coonan, who was confirmed into the Episcopal Church on Saturday morning at St. Mark's Cathedral. She was accompanied by five of her Saint Anne's friends: Aidan McNally, Anna Dupont, Sydney Truran, Erin Sweeney, and Carter Henry and their mentors: Dan Davis, Dan and Lisa Rooney, Carolyn Swiszcz, Emilie Rexeisen, Mike Coonan, and the Fearless Leader-Jennifer McNally. They had dedicated two years of their life to study, discernment, support, friendship, food, and love. Bobbie Moraine, Stephen Dupont, and Carolyn Swiszcz were also received into the Episcopal Church. As I sat in that beautiful cathedral, I remembered another time I felt that pride and love, when Grace was confirmed in the same cathedral by the same Bishop, Brian Prior. Both our girls have a very special relationship with Bishop Prior through their Teens Encounter Christ experiences. He has a wonderful sense of humor and has a special way with teenagers. The Episcopal Church of Minnesota is very blessed to have him. Grace calls him "Bi Pri."
As the Saint Anne's community and friends and family of the candidates for confirmation were approaching the front to lay hands on each of the confirmands, the Bishop said to Bridget, "Do you feel the LOVE? That is a big group of supporters!" He was correct: there was a lot of love in that Cathedral!
In his sermon, he mentioned that the news has reported that the Church is dying in the United States. He also stated that looking at the packed Cathedral, all there to welcome 84 teenagers from across the State that have decided to confirm their faith and officially join the Episcopal Church, he has a hard time believing that the Church is dying. He reminded all in attendance that WE ARE THE CHURCH and as such, it is our responsibility to share God's message of love.
After the confirmation service, we returned to Saint Anne's for a beautiful luncheon put on by parents and mentors. More family, friends, and Saint Anne's members joined in the celebration. A great time was had by all that came to support and celebrate with these young adults! Thank you to all the contributors, workers, and all that took time out of their day to join in the fun.
Here is a quote from Balancing the Christian Life by Charles Ryrie: "Pentecost Sunday is a commemoration and celebration of the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the early church. Today, in many Christian churches, Pentecost Sunday is celebrated to recognize the gift of the Holy Spirit, realizing that God’s very life, breath and energy live in believers. During this service, John 20:19-23 may be the core of the message about our risen Savior supernaturally appearing to the fear-laden disciples. Their fear gave way to joy when the Lord showed them His hands and side. He assured them peace and repeated the command given in Matthew 28:19-20, saying, 'As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. Then He breathed on them, and they received the Holy Spirit' (John 20:21-23). The Episcopal Church has made the news many times over the last 25 years for taking a stand on diversity and inclusiveness. The Episcopal Church ordains women, openly gay priests, welcomes all Christians to the communion table, and ordained the first woman Bishop."
Mike, our girls, and I have been blessed members of the Saint Anne's Episcopal congregation for over 25 years. Mike and I were married in this church 25 years ago this fall. We are proud to say that we are members at the cute little church on the hill on the corner of Charlton and Hwy 110. The newly redecorated interior space, the new organ, and for our youngest members, the addition of the playground represent the pride that our members take in keeping our church home comfortable and refreshed. And, we feel grateful that our congregation shares our beautiful space with another awesome group of Christians, Spirit of Hope Catholic Community.
I reaffirmed my faith today. I felt the Holy Spirit this weekend. I was a proud Mom this weekend. I took time to feel grateful for all our wonderful friends, family and the entire Saint Anne's community that have been a true blessing in our lives.
I hope you had an opportunity to feel the spirit and feel grateful for the blessings and special people in your lives this weekend and if you happen to be looking for a new church home...Saint Anne's would welcome you with open arms and love! May God Bless You Always!