A Farewell from Eleanor

Weekly Reflection, Friday, April 22

By: Eleanor Wellford

Although I’ve been old enough to retire for quite a while now, I’ve never “felt” that I was old enough to do that. Besides, wonderful opportunities have always seemed to come along at just the right time to make it easy for me to put retirement on hold. That certainly happened over three years ago when David May asked me to come back to St. Mary’s and serve with him. There was no way I was going to say, “no” to that opportunity!

When David began his ministry as Rector, he came at a time of significant changes in leadership. He especially came at a time when St. Mary’s needed healing. And it has been my delight to witness his leadership and healing spirit transform St. Mary’s into an energetic, empowered, and engaged community. Despite not being able to gather in person for worship on a regular basis during the pandemic, we felt connected in so many ways – thanks to the amazing creativity and resourcefulness of the staff and the gracious and giving spirit of our parishioners.

It’s such a wonderful time to be a part of God’s story at St. Mary’s! As much as I’d like to continue to be part of this story, I feel as if my time has come to (maybe?) retire.

For those who know me well, they’ll know how much I live by the mantra, “timing is everything.” In fact, I had “TIMING” as my license plate for quite a while. The way time seems to be flying by faster than ever has made me rethink how I want to spend it. My oldest grandson, whom I would swear was born just a few months ago, will be starting Junior Kindergarten this fall. Then I think that if I merely blink, my youngest grandson, who actually was born a few months ago, will be off to school soon, too. My heart is with my grandchildren now.

I’ve already left St. Mary’s once in 2015 and I remember all too well how difficult it was. It will be no less difficult to leave again, except that I leave when the presence of the Holy Spirit has never felt stronger here than it does now. Thank you for the honor and privilege of letting me serve among you, once again. May the Lord bless you and keep you always as the apple of his eye. Amen.

A Note from David…

You may not know this, but Eleanor and I served together at St. Andrew’s, Oregon Hill, over twenty years ago. She was, at the time, a part of one of the happiest times in ministry I’ve ever experienced. Something else you may not know is that Eleanor was a really important part of how I ended up here at St. Mary’s. I found old text messages between us from the late winter of 2018 and found her encouraging, wise voice. Which led to one of the happiest times in ministry I’ve known here at St. Mary’s. So, Eleanor is one of the really important people in my life for which I thank God!

I was so grateful when Eleanor said ‘yes’ to coming to serve here at St. Mary’s as our Priest Associate. I was basically brand new here at St. Mary’s and our shared history and friendship over these past years has been such a source of strength and encouragement for which I will always be grateful to God, and to Eleanor!

When Eleanor and I talked about her ‘retiring’ as our Priest Associate, I heard a call to a new time in her life, like God saying to Abraham, ‘get up and go to the place that I will show you.’ I admire Eleanor’s attentiveness and faithfulness to God’s voice. I will sorely miss her being a part of the ministry and leadership of this parish. But I rejoice for what God will show her next.

Please put on your calendar our ‘Thank you God for Eleanor!’ Sunday on Sunday, May 22. Eleanor will preach and celebrate at both services. Following the 11a.m. service, we will gather on the Terrace for a picnic to offer our thanks to God for her and to send her forth with our blessings and grateful hearts.