Father Chuck: My dream has come true

Have your dreams ever come true? Mine have!

Back in the summer of 1984 I had a dream that I was called to be the priest of a beautiful stone church that had a cemetery with an iron fence circling the cemetery.

In the fall of 1984 I received a phone call from Archdeacon Charlie Grover to inquire if we were interested in interviewing for two yoked parishes in Central New York. On a January day when we celebrate Jesus’ baptism by John, we came to upstate New York for that interview.

Two weeks later I received a phone call asking if I would accept a call to serve in CNY. This is how our family’s journey began in 1984.

When we were going through the interview process they asked that I stay for at least 5 years. Now going on 31 years, I believe that we held up our end of that request.

Upon our arrival in Central New York, I sulked for a year. You see, I left familiar, safe, St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Barnesboro, PA, the church where I grew up and was privileged to serve as their priest for 6 years. We were fortunate to be home and have family support. Coming here was pushing me into unfamiliar territory, out of my comfort zone. So, I sulked and pouted., ask Donna.

But guess what, it was the best dream that God could have ever made come true for us. We have been loved, cared for, and been part of a larger family. And what an adventure it has been. For 25 years, we had been a part of St. Andrew’s and St. Matthew’s and then in 2009 God helped another dream take shape.

On a chance meeting at Chenango Memorial Hospital I came upon George Denning with a simple offer to visit parishioners from Emmanuel who were hospitalized. And from there God’s vision for three parishes sharing one clergy person began and again what an amazing time it has been.

Three parishes blending together to form an alliance for ministry and mission in Chenango County with the support of Bishop Adams is just a part of this long journey we have made together.

Now, we have the opportunity to live into another part of that dream God has for us. Bringing The Reverend Lisa Busby to be with us and then to become your Rector when I retire in early summer of 2016.

The Warden’s along with our Vestry Members’ have been involved in interviewing and calling Mother Lisa to be the Associate Rector. Presently they are working on a Letter of Agreement which will call Lisa from being our Associate Rector to the Rector of Emmanuel, St. Andrew’s and St. Matthew’s, when I retire with Mother Lisa and her family moving into the rectory later in the summer.

I find it very satisfying realizing that God’s dream, God’s plan involves each one of us. And how glorious it is when God’s plan for our life becomes our dream. God has big exciting dreams for our three parishes. God’s dream, our dream, let’s dream big for us and The Episcopal Church! Happy New Year!

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One Response to “Father Chuck: My dream has come true”
  1. Roberta Rowland-Raybold says:

    To my friends in your parish,
    I was my privilege two years ago through a mutual friend, to meet with Fr. Chuck about the possibility of a summer ministry with the young people of the parish. The short journey that I took in that role was a privilege and a blessing. Father Chuck had a concern for the youth, that there be some summer program built around music, art, drama, that would be of interest to them, and keep them in the “circle of faith” during their summer break. We did this . . . and it was a grand experience – with the blessing of Father Chuck and the help of many of your people. I put together a program for the young people for two consecutive summers – and we loved every moment. It was a opportunity to put faith and fun together and watch your youth grow in the Lord.
    Just now as I read Fr. Chuck’s message to us about living his dream . . . I know that he is at this moment celebrating the most wonderful dream of all . . . that of enjoying the presence of the Lord forever and ever. He will be greatly missed, remembered by so many of us, and a part of our spiritual journeys!

    Sincerely, Roberta Rowland-Raybold

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