As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. – Acts 8:36-39
If you were at church last Sunday you know that we read story of the conversion and baptism of the nameless, Ethiopian eunuch at the hands of Philip the Evangelist. The story ends with Philip’s abrupt disappearance. The only explanation Luke offers is that “….the Lord suddenly took Philip away.” After that, we’re told someone saw Philip preaching miles and miles away on Azotus. God blows us where God will. It’s how the Gospel spreads.
About six months ago, having moved just up the road, Brother John Henry and his husband Dean blew into Grace Church Van Vorst for the 9am mass. Not long afterwards Br. John Henry began acolyting and Dean stationed himself at the church door on Sundays as a Greeter, offering the warmest welcome a visiting stranger could hope to receive. During Lent Br. John Henry offered very a popular PrayerGroup and he and Dean joyfully took on the grunt work of church like preparing meals and cleaning up after parties. If I remember in time I’ve started asking Br. John Henry to pray with me just before mass. His grounded spirit and gentle voice silences all of the buzzing in my head about missing sign-up sheets and how we’re out of toilet paper and I can find Jesus again.
A couple of months ago Br. John Henry told me he felt called to stay at Grace and officially be a member of the leadership team here. Having never been propositioned by a friar before I asked the Vestry and our Bishop if this was okay. The Vestry unanimously said “Yes!” and our Bishop said, “Congratulations!” And so, Grace Church, we have ourselves a Friar with a wonderful husband to boot.
We’ll celebrate Br. John Henry’s ministry at Grace Church on Pentecost, May 20th at 11am. I hope you will be there to give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit and especially for how She has blown new life into Grace by sending us Br. John Henry and Dean!
Your sister in Christ,