Ten years ago this week, I began my time as one of your ministers at Christ Church. I had just graduated from seminary and was ordained a deacon from the Diocese of Los Angeles on June 4, 2007. The first few months were a pretty steep learning curve; there is much they don’t teach you in seminary about what to expect in parish ministry. And Christ Church is a busy and complex place. At that time, we had eight clergy: four full-time and four Lilly residents. I had barely worked in an office before I got here, so just navigating the staff was a challenge. Before long, I wasn’t at all sure I was cut out to be a priest. (My ordination to the priesthood would not happen until December 2007.)

That fall, I remember having spiritual direction with Brother Curtis Almquist from SSJE and confessing that I wasn’t sure I would ever be “good enough” to be a priest. He looked at me lovingly and smiled. Comfortable with silence, there was always a twinkle in his eye. After a pause, he told me that he was going to talk to me as if he was my older brother. “Ann, Jesus called you to be a priest as you!

ann-blog-7.12.17-2016-olr-trip-47-photo-credit-kate-ballard.jpgI let that rest in my soul for a moment. “You mean the actress/ yoga teacher who swears?” He chuckled. “Yes, that’s exactly who Jesus called. And the more you are you as a priest, the more you give other people permission to be who they are.” That kept me going at least for the first few years of priesthood.

What else has kept me going? I took a six-month sabbatical in 2015 which completely renewed my sense of call to stay in parish ministry and opened a new avenue for artistic expression – writing – that I am still trying to figure out how to live into fully.

I have been blessed with opportunity after opportunity to serve this extraordinary community in ways that I hope testify to the love of God. I have done close to sixty weddings, almost one hundred baptisms, and nearly fifty funerals.  I have been a preacher and a teacher to the best of my ability. I have had a lot of fun. I have made mistakes and missteps. I have been forgiven. With you all, I have tried to discern God’s call to this church and my role in that call. I have grown in the love and knowledge of Christ through this grace-filled faith community. 

I wonder what God has in mind for us next?!