Today is one of those days you write home about, unless, of course, you are already home. My family is deep into our second year in Altadena, and days like today are at least one of the reasons we are so glad to be here. Sky, sun, breeze and mountains are showing their perfectionist colors. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful day.
At least as wonderful as the scene outside my office window are the sounds that float through it. I am perched above the preschool, beside the music room, and across from the church. In the course of a typical weekday, I am treated to the sounds of young string players, plastic car wheels, singing children, pounding hammers, gentle diplomacy from loving teachers, the happy chatter of students on their way to or from chapel or music or dance or play practice, and several times a week, a tolling church bell. The Saint Mark’s soundtrack is one of the best things about being the rector on a campus that is home to both church and school.
This is a wonderful place. I’ve come to know that the warmth I experienced in this community when I first arrived in the fall of 2009 was not just for the newcomer, but is part of the character of an Episcopal church/school community. It shows up everywhere:
- In the hundreds of enthusiastic “Good Morning!”s given out to the children leaving chapel every Tuesday and Thursday by our chaplain, Mother Betsy and our Head of School, Dr. Oleson.
- In the way parish and school families look after one another and provide rides and meals and presence and prayers in times of need.
- In the easy way so many of our school parents have of sidling up to a stranger at a school event, and making her feel she’s an old friend within a few minutes.
- In the smiles given out liberally by children and teachers, by office staff at both church and school, by nearly every face coming and going from worship on Sunday mornings.
Being the rector of a parish that is also home to a school means I get to spend my days on a campus which is always bursting with energy and growth and joy, not just on Sundays, but all week long. It means I get to build relationships and forge partnerships with people from my own faith tradition and from outside of it too, right here at Saint Mark’s. It means I get to have conversations and share life with a beautifully diverse collection of people, all ages, many colors, different walks of life. I think I may have the greatest job in the world.