This time the torch was passed to me

Last night some changes around here were made official. Some people went from “I am a sacristan” or “I am a precentor” or “I am a chimer” to “I was…” And others of us became those things, or assumed leadership roles in those guilds.

Seminary is full of rites of passage. The ones that are the most profound, however, are the little ones that nobody knows about. Last night the Eucharist was festive, with Mardi Gras beads and hugs and smiles and Alleluias all around. And in an official way the changing of the guard took place last night. But what took my breath away was the moment when I realized that a day captain’s vestment hook was empty – because it was waiting for my vestments. Or when I carried the officiant’s books to their stall for Evensong for the first time. Or updating the checklist for my team and realizing that I have both the knowledge and the responsibility to decide how they will get things done. Or watching the “ah ha!” looks on the faces of my team members when they understood for the first time how things work, where things are kept, why the pattern of bells 10 minutes before a spoken service sounds a certain way (it’s from ringing the Angelus).

Early this AM we began with prayers used as part of the initiation of new guild members for generations. I looked around instinctively for the leaders, and then remembered that I’m one of them. Those who I’ve looked to for guidance since junior year orientation weren’t there. They are moving on – to ordination, to jobs, to moves across the country. Their adventure within the gates of this place is almost over, and for them the real adventure is about to begin. My friends and I, on the other hand, are fully engrossed here for a while longer.

I decided that I wanted to be a sacristan years ago, when I was first in The Process and I was reading everything I could get my hands on about seminary. I know that in the greater scheme of things it is just a teeny tiny thing, a blip of the radar akin to being on the track team or drama club. But I had reasons to believe that it would be harder for me than for some others to find my way in seminary. In some small way, being a sacristan and now a day captain reminds me that I have.


~ by Sophia on February 6, 2008.

One Response to “This time the torch was passed to me”

  1. Congratulations! I loved being a sacristan (most of the time) and I did the day captain bit, too. And you know what? There are times that I am really thankful for all that time I spent in the sacristy. People will try to say it’s not worth much, but I learned things that make my life much easier now.Have fun, and have a great semester.

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