Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!” which means, Teacher.” John 20: 15-16 (NRSV)
Dear Friends in Christ,
Greetings in the name of our risen Lord!
As we sit down together to prepare this joint Easter message, we can’t help but marvel at the countless ways that God’s new life is springing up all around us in the Parish of the Valley. Whether it be in our recently completed Confirmation program, which saw fifteen students participate from across our parish; or in the conversations that took place in our “Being Christian” Lenten Book Study, which brought together parishioners for discussion and fellowship in three different locations; or in our successful annual Vestry meetings, which saw us renew our commitment to each other and to God’s mission: God’s capacity to bring resurrection surrounds us, and for this we owe God thanks and praise!
We also wish to express our profound thanks to each of you as followers of Jesus. Thank you for being the heart and soul of the Parish of the Valley “church family.” Thank you for your continued financial support of the churches, particularly in this season of Easter. Thank you for being God’s hands and heart in a world that yearns to know God’s story.
As we celebrate the resurrection, may the Spirit continue to bless us, like Mary Magdalene, with ears to hear the voice of our Teacher, who is alive and calls us each by name. May we be given eyes to see the face of the Holy One, who like a loving gardener is never afraid to roll up his sleeves, and to get his hands dirty to further the reign of God. May God help us to know in our hearts that “things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, Jesus Christ of Lord.”
May God bless you all as we celebrate the resurrection. Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Yours in God’s love,
The Rt. Rev. Michael Bird
The Rev. Canon Susan Clifford
The Rev. Matthew Brown
The Rev. Gillian Hoyer
(letter attached below)