Fr. Noah Bushelli writes:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 134:1)
The priests of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic enjoyed a few days of "Indian Summer" at Antiochian Village. This came at the perfect time for me, after the crown of Church's New Year and re-energizing the ministry programs after the summer.
I especially appreciated the time in discussion and fellowship with our beloved Bishop Thomas, and all our brother clergy. The Village is a perfect setting for this, with serene and scenic trails, comfortable gathering spaces, and the grounds hallowed by the relics of saints, the resting place of our beloved hierarchs, and prayers of campers. If all of this free exchange of ideas weren't enough, we "the shirts" came back to beat "the cassocks" in bocce on the back lawn!
The services were beautifully celebrated with hearty singing and punctuated with very profound sermons. I especially am grateful that in the sunset service we had in the cemetery a memorial for Metropolitan Philip and a supplication to St. Raphael.
We had our pastoral vision refocused by a presentation of Dn. Paul Abernathy about his ministry in inner city Pittsburgh's FOCUS Center. He related that all of Christian life, especially ministry, requires a step of faith. He told stories demonstrating how we must listen to people before we can help them. He reminded us that we can't be afraid to preach the truth, even in the face of our national crises, social ills, and the need to raise money.