As I drove through the fog of Saturday morning at Nashotah House heading to Madison, WI for the 167th meeting of Diocesan Convention for the Diocese of Milwaukee, I began to reflect on things I might tell people about our life here at Nashotah House Theological Seminary. As I prepared our booth with literature, pens and other giveaways, thoughts of formation, prayer, and classes ran across my mind as they always do whenever I represent the House. I never lack stories about my family’s time here, and God always fills me with excitement about what is taking place when I recall the past two years and reflect on their importance in our life together.
That day I would not have to explain much to those I would meet. Their stories were the ones that would be heard. So many would stop by to reminisce about their times here at Nashotah, some recent stories and some of several years past. Regardless, the stories they told were the stories of the impact of God in their lives through a time of prayer at Nashotah. This is a common narrative as people recall their time in what is commonly referred to as a “thin place.” They are referring to God’s closeness to his people–when God is only thinly veiled as Christians gather here in prayer and worship like they’ve done for over 170 years.
Usually these stories are told with some proximity to St. Mary’s Chapel, but this day was a little different. Sometimes people tell their story about simply being on the campus; that is, they sense God’s presence even as they enter. During convention, the story was one of being reminded of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and his love for us in his sacrifice. The story told happened in their room as they were on a retreat. It seems that stories are ubiquitous when it comes to people’s experience of God’s presence.
The same seems true for those who visit from the Diocese of Milwaukee. At the Diocesan Convention, people visited not to hear the story of Nashotah, but to share their own experience and to share the importance of this place in their lives–the stories of how God has used Nashotah as a place of formation for so many, both clergy and laity. It is a true blessing to share this common narrative of God’s blessing.
It was a delight to be welcomed by so many from the Diocese of Milwaukee and to hear the stories of so many who serve God in his church. With Nashotah’s strong presence and relationships among the Lake Country Episcopal churches, it was great to be present for the celebration and vote by acclamation of the transition to parish status of St. Mary’s, Dousman, WI. At St. Mary’s, the Rev. Scott R. Leannah serves as Vicar. Fr. Scott grew up in Sheboygan, WI, and completed undergraduate studies at Marquette University. His service to the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to inspire lives, to invigorate churches, and to invite others in.
This was a true blessing as Bishop Miller led his people in response to the proposal from a debt-free congregation that is reflecting Christ’s mission to the world around them.
As our relationship grows, it seems that the impact of these historic institutions will provide more opportunities for God’s greatness to be known. As we seek the common goal of proclaiming the message of Christ to all people, may we seek ways to serve God in our life together.
Mr. Jason Terhune, ’15
To read more about St. Mary’s, Dousman, WI, please visit: http://www.stmarys-dousman.com/
Photo courtesy: http://www.diomil.org/about-us/diocesan-convention/