Dear Beloveds at St. Edmund’s,
The intense April 29thfarewell Sunday scored my heart with enduring gladness. There could have been no more touching fete and send-off, and I am privileged to fulsomely understand that I have marked the lives of many and am cherished and esteemed and held in care and prayer.
Debra Spaulding, whose taste and organizational skills are un-paralleled, brought all of her abilities to honed focus in creating a seamless and multi-faceted event. I know that a great many folk worked together with her to achieve this remarkable despedida, but so much occurred beyond my seeing that I am loath to call out names! I do know that Wendy Greenleaf and Susan Wong worked closely with Debra to create three large-bound and profoundly wonderful scrapbooks and photo books, that Laureen Chang was quite engaged with the Timeline and in harvesting our institutional memories, and that Alan Steinbrecher worked with Mitch Lehman and the San Marino Tribune toward a fine leave-taking article and wide coverage in our local press. Canon Smythe’s poignant sermon, Rob Hovencamp, the Choir and the Organ, and Sylvia Smythe with the Bell Choir, Verger Faught and our Acolytes, Mark Boalt on sound and video, the presentations from the Nursery School, the Sunday School, Altar Guild, Brother Michael Jones, the Youngblood Family, Alan Steinbrecher, Senior Warden Ron Harrington and Transition Chair Gail Rolfe, double-barreled ribbing from Joel Athey, Gretchen Shepherd on behalf of the City of San Marino and open-mic tributes were moving and a great deal of fun! And all of this following an astonishingly well-attended Altar Guild tribute luncheon the previous week at San Gabriel Country Club, hatched by Diane McCracken and Pam Payne. Have I mentioned I need to lose 15 pounds?
I want to make my appreciation known to all of you who labored toward the celebration of our 23 years together and to honor me so profoundly. I left almost immediately for a week of reconnoiter in San Miguel from where I write this brief missive, and so I know that word about my April 29thsend-off has reached my next parish. St. Paul’s confidence in their call is deepened for knowing I am so highly thought of at St. Edmund’s, so you have smoothed my arrival to new endeavor.
To have had the endowment named in my honor, and to have received the honorific title of Rector Emeritus are both deeply meaningful to me. I thank you for this, and I thank all of you who were able to further contribute to the Woodward endowment at this juncture.
Next, I must accomplish relocation to San Miguel, and as I gather my City Recognition from Anthony’s Frames and my treasured memory-books for the next leg of the journey, you will all be fiercely to mind. I’ll cry a bit and be quite broken-hearted as I close this chapter at St. Edmund’s, but most of those tears will be for the joy of having walked the pilgrim way with you, and for God’s good future unfolding ahead for all of us, beyond all our asking or imagining.
In Christ, with love and enduring affection,
The Reverend Canon George F. Woodward III