**Special note: Marie submitted this article before her sudden passing earlier this week.
May the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.**
At the February meeting of Convocation III, clergy convener and dean, the Rev. Walt Kindergan, asked each of us to go around the room, introducing ourselves and naming the various parishes we represented. Walt then asked us to add this final piece of information: describe our diocese in two words. Of course, Bishop Russell covered his ears and offered a hearty, "La. La. La," (not really); but he did listen attentively to the words of affirmation and goodwill going on within this group and our diocese. One point that stood out for me was the idea of collegiality. Between the clergy in this convocation, and I suspect across the scope of our diocese, there is a sense of growth, action and collegiality. There were 22 active and retired clergy gathered in St. John’s, Pensacola for this meeting. Yes, 22! Together we shared prayers, soups, deviled eggs (from my own hens), sandwiches, chips, and cookies.
During our time together, I believe that this photo of the Rev. Anthony MacWhinnie and me, taken in front of the newly rejuvenated St. John’s sign, stands as a testament to collegiality. Good things happen when parishes reach out and work together. St. John’s had an overabundance of unsold rummage sale merchandise and St. Monica’s has a thrift shop. What a wonderful opportunity for two seminary classmates and two parishes to help each other out! Prior to, and after the Christmas holiday, St. John’s began “sharing the wealth” so to speak. St. Monica’s took large quantities of merchandise to sell. In turn, St. Monica's parishioner Ray Farrel saw a need at St. John’s. The wooden sign marking the entrance to St. John’s parking lot was badly in need of repair. Without hesitation Ray and Jim Warner took the sign back to Ray’s workshop. The magnificent outcome can be seen in the photograph. Much Thanksgiving for St. Monica’s and Ray. Much Thanksgiving for the blessing of collegiality we share as clergy brothers and sisters in Christ in this, the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast.
The Rev. A. Marie Butterbaugh+
Priest-in-Charge St. John’s Pensacola