A Few Words of Thanksgiving

-Bernadette Aylward

For me, one of the best parts of travel is coming home. Experiencing a new place and meeting new people is enriching, but it also highlights the good things about home. On the last day of any trip, I’m anxious to zip up suitcases, pack the car, and get moving back toward home. While we didn’t travel all that far, our retreat with 4 other Mid Atlantic Episcopal Service Corps groups was no different.

The retreat was a time to exchange ideas and learn from each other as well as spend some extra time in prayer. We didn’t have to cook or clean a single thing and had a break from our work schedules. There was beautiful scenery and a Sound of Music sing along. Being away and meeting other ESC groups made me thankful for what we have in Oregon Hill within our home, the structure of our program, and St. Andrew’s church.

I love the people I live with. I have even adjusted to hugging them on a semi-regular basis. We eat and pray together regularly and make each other laugh. Our house is comfortable and warm (now that the heat is fixed!). Together we have made this house into a happy home.

Having that committed community is due in some part to the leadership of Abbott and Paris. When we arrived and first put together our Rule of Life, they challenged us to set aside lots of time for each other. They also shared the responsibilities associated with being in this community. At first it seemed like we wouldn’t have time for anything besides program requirements: work, each other, prayer, and St. Andrew’s. But what seemed daunting in August now just feels like a normal week, with plenty of time for work and play.

Not every ESC group had a church where they were an active part of the parish. Even though I’m not Episcopalian, I cherish the time spent in worship at St. Andrew’s. The outpouring of affection and appreciation from the parishioners makes it easy to show up every week. There is a sense of belonging that comes from being in this church and it helps immensely to feel like we are not alone in our aspirations.

These are just a few of the things I am thankful for-the list could certainly go on! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us GOTHs, I hope at this time of year you are feeling similarly blessed!


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