When my call to the priesthood first came in, it was born with a twin, to be a writer. I paid a lot of attention to the priest part for the first seven years and not much time developing myself as a writer. When I was granted a sabbatical in 2015, I began a creative writing program through Seattle Pacific University. It is the only low-residency writing program in the country that is also explicitly Christian. It attracts the most incredible people I have ever met. All of us so different, from all walks of life, but we all share two things: a love for God and a need to make Art through writing. The program offers instruction in three genres: poetry, fiction, and what I did, creative nonfiction (memoir and personal essay). It has been the most satisfying and difficult challenge over the past two years. I never would have dared to try it if I hadn’t had the break from parish work on my sabbatical. I never dreamed I could finish it, once I came back to work, but thanks to you all and the love of God, I have just completed my Master of Fine Arts Degree.

ann-blog-4.5.17-filter.jpgA week ago, I flew back from Whidbey Island in Puget Sound having finished a manuscript of over a hundred pages and sixty annotations of books, read and analyzed for their literary effects. At the end of the residency, each graduate reads a selection of their work. If you’re interested in seeing what I did, here is a link to the video. My advisor, Lauren Winner, speaks about my writing first, then I offer a few thank yous, then the piece called Lament for Words. But of course, my thanks are not complete without acknowledging you, my loving faith community, for allowing me to serve you long enough to receive a sabbatical, for the generous time away, for welcoming me back, and especially for upholding me all the way through! I will be forever grateful to you, Christ Church, for the way you have enabled me to develop as both priest and writer. Who knew you were midwives to twins?!