I note this evening with deep emotion the announcement of the retirement of my friend and peer the Rev. Dr. Marilyn Cornwell as rector of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension.
I had the great honor of serving under her leadership as Director of Children and Youth Ministries and as Associate Priest. Marilyn is a remarkable person as well as an outstanding priest. Our paths first crossed as she was in the final stages of her path to ordination. I was Secretary for Vocations as she was she was approaching ordination. I knew her then through the file I kept on her and all who were in the discernment process. I was impressed then before I ever met her.
Our paths crossed again as St Mark’s was in the process of calling a pastor for Pastoral Care. I served on the committee that recommended her. I got to see her gifts up close and personal as a member of St Mark’s during trying times.
I was surprised when she invited me to apply for a position at Ascension. Frankly I did not see that coming. I was delighted to come on board and to serve there for three years. She showed me how wonderful team ministry could be.
At Ascension I came to experience a healing that I needed. My bond to that parish will never be broken. They breathed new life into me and I hope I gave them a sense of new life also.
As Marilyn embarks on a new course, I pray God blessing on her. As Ascension discerns what to do next in ordained leadership there, I pray the Spirit’s guidance.