That's how it feels to return to the Cathedral as its newest members of the clergy. After moving to San Diego from Washington, D.C., we first came to St. Paul's for the Blessing of the Animals service in 2007. What a sight! We decided quickly that any church comfortable enough with itself to allow dogs to sit on the pews was the place for us.
Although we had been attending an Episcopal church in D.C. the year before, we were not well-versed in the Anglican tradition, or confirmed members. We enrolled that winter in the "What Is An Episcopalian?" course, and were confirmed the following Easter (2008). A year later, we both began the formal year-long discernment process for holy orders, a blessed adventure that changed our lives and our address: we next found ourselves in small town Sewanee, Tennessee for a three-year seminary education.
Since we hadn't yet had our fill of life-changing events, we thought we'd add a child to the mix; our daughter Robin was born in 2010 at the end of our first semester. Seminary turned out to be a wonderful place to become parents. Robin spent her first two years in a loving community of teachers and friends who knew her and her parents well. For our part, we developed quite a sophisticated spreadsheet detailing when each of us was in class, studying, and watching the baby!
We spent our two seminary summers in San Diego doing our required parish internships at St. David's and All Souls and our clinical pastoral internships with a local hospice program. We passed our comprehensive General Ordination Exams in January (which involved three and a half days of testing!), and were delighted by the Cathedral's warm celebration of our deaconal ordination this April.
Somehow, of all the places in the diocese we could have ended up -- from Yuma to Lake Elsinore -- we find ourselves back at the Cathedral, the place where in large part this odyssey began. Our titles will be "curate"; curacies are a time for apprenticeship after seminary, and the positions are traditionally supported partially by the diocese, as is the case for us. That means we hope to be involved in every aspect of parish life so that we can continue developing our preaching, liturgical, pastoral, administrative, and teaching skills. Thank you in advance for helping us learn!
That said, we will have somewhat different focus areas. Laurel will be devoting significant time to Christian formation for all ages, while Colin will spend much of his time with the Cathedral's Spanish-speaking congregation.
Please introduce yourselves when you see us -- we're looking forward to getting to know you as we settle back "home" at St. Paul's.
The Revs. Colin and Laurel Mathewson