Spiritual Growth Moment ~ October 31, 2021
by Watson Barnes
In reflecting on my life in the Episcopal Church and the journey it has taken me on, I have thousands of memories. These memories are usually defined by the sensations they created for me, and how they have continued to be present over the years.
The first one that comes to mind is running up the carpeted stairs at St. Timothy’s in Wilson and hearing that same creak every time…and now, I’m pretty sure the same creak can be heard while climbing the stairs in Milton Hall. I can also remember searching for an alb in the vesting room when I was a crucifer in high school. I always tried to find a cotton one, as opposed to those scratchy polyester albs, and the same goes today at St. James (it seems like the C.M. Almy company, which must have a monopoly on the alb market, would go all cotton at some point).
Other memories and sensations include the welcome scent of pancakes, bacon and coffee as I used to walk through Anderson Hall as a kid, and now when I walk into the Great Hall. Or the combined smell of the woodwork, brass, and communion wine during the service. I always loved the cold midnight air that could be felt when leaving the late service on Christmas Eve, full of anticipation and inspired after singing Silent Night, and then Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Every time I hear the groan of an old radiator, I think about EYC lock-ins at St. Timothy’s or sleeping in the Great Hall while manning the old homeless shelter.
My parishes have always had great rectors and clergy. I remember whenever a priest at St. Timothy’s would retire, Mom and all of her friends wept at the loss, but then ushered in a new rector with tremendous enthusiasm and ended up loving them just as much. I’ve felt the same at St. James about our clergy. They work tirelessly to minister to our parishioners, and for me, have inspired feelings of great love and respect over the years.
All these memories, and all the amazing community we can experience as Christians and Episcopalians, are just simple examples of the rich spiritual life available to us, and proof that God is always present and working among us.