As a priest I have lived where different Episcopal Churches have called me to serve. Those places include Panama City, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Newington, Connecticut; Signal Mountain, Tennessee; and Hayesville, North Carolina. All of these places have vastly contrasting cultures, and the churches have diverse styles of liturgy and ministry.
You may have noticed that one these places includes Panama City, Florida. St. Andrew's Episcopal Church was the first place to call me to serve as the Assistant Priest on the staff. It is a significant place for me in my ministry; I was ordained by Bishop Duvall to the priesthood at that church in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast.
One of the cultural phenomenon that typically occurs in ministry is that healthy relationships are formed and still sustained in a positive way once the priest is called to a new ministry and moves geographically to a different location. I have not heard from some of my friends in the Panhandle area; however, most have responded to my telephone calls and texts to inform me that they have survived Hurricane Michael. Their houses, nonetheless, sustained varying degrees of damage. This piqued my curiosity so I logged on to an accredited government web sight of satellite views of the area around St. Andrew's. The church is still standing but the church house where the Choyce family lived is not. It is completely flattened by the historical trees that surrounded it. It was quite humbling to zero in on the space and realize where my family and I had lived for three years is now flattened.
There are all kinds of mission opportunities from local to national to international. Hurricane recovery is a significant ministry opportunity for all of us. We can participate in mission and ministry opportunities by physically partaking in them, and praying for those involved in the experience, as well as financially supporting those who will be touched by the experience. In additional to your pledge, over the next month please be looking out, in addition to listening out for those opportunities to financially sponsoring a missionary, along with contributing to the places where they will serve. And by all means, palpably participate in the mission or ministry experience. As Jesus said to his disciples - and is true for us today - Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to all creation.
Please call me at Good Shepherd with any questions. If I am not able to answer them, I will put you in touch with the right person who will be able to do so.