Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Saturday, June 17, 2023

On The Retirement of the Rev. Canon Percy Grant

Percy moved into the position of Transition Officer in the Diocese while I was still in seminary, headed toward ordination.  She took over for the Rev. Mary C. Carson, and I got ordained. In fact, I was part of the first ordination Percy oversaw. <curtsy>

Over the years, she got steadily better at her job, and I . . . am still ordained.

It’s not an easy job this transition officer, or canon for ministry or whatever a particular diocese calls it. I imagine it’s a lot of lonely.  A lot of keeping confidences.  And it’s a lot of work. I know first hand that it’s a lot of work because . . . Well, I personally have given Percy a lot of work.  I texted her . . . a lot! Sorry Nan. Usually, while standing at my grill waiting for the coals to get going and thinking, “Who on God’s flat earth would know the answer to this question?”  Percy!

A few examples 

October 18th last year:  Sorry to text so late, but I’ve been thinking a Mutual Ministry Review might be helpful.
May 4th last year: Sorry to text so late; hopefully your phone is on silent . . .
February 28th last year:  I did not realize you were on vacation until I got your email auto-reply, and now I’m texting you because I can’t take a hint.
From September 2020: Sorry to be writing so late, but I just have a quick question . . .
May 2020: Sorry to bother you off hours, but is it normal for someone to . . .

I got a million of them.  But here’s one more, from seven years ago . . .
April 24th 2016:  Sorry for texting so late, but the search committee was unanimous in Massillon, and I’m wondering, what have I done?!? 

That last one is important, because I wasn’t supposed to end up in Massllon.  It was a practice interview, for them and for me.  Percy was no Svengali silently pulling strings; she always left room for the Spirit.  Nobody expected me to end up in Massillon, least of all me and Percy.

And here’s the thing about all those times I texted Percy at random hours after work. Percy listened. I am not saying that I suggested something and it suddenly happened. Because that is not how the Episcopal Church works. In case you haven’t noticed. There are always other people--LAYERS of other people--who have some say in how things go. But, I always knew that if I said something to Percy, someone heard me. Like, REALLY heard me. And I have to say--on some level--that is all any of us really wants.  To know someone hears us.

On the last day of our recent clergy conference, Bishop Jolly asked for a show of hands of how many clergy were in their current settings because of Percy Grant.  About 2/3 of the hands went up, including mine. That’s a lot of priests and deacons.  Like, a lot!  In fact, you could legit say that Percy has had a hand in the hiring of most of our clergy, which means most of your individual priests and deacons. Which means we would not be who we are and where we are today without Percy’s influence. And where we are today is a good place. A very good place.

So Percy Grant, thank you for walking with me and all these other clergy serving in this diocese. Thank you for all the thankless tasks you took on because somebody had to do them. And above all else, thank you for listening. I always knew that you heard me. And I am STILL . . . ordained.

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