It is no accident that my wife has the word “pilgrim” as part of one of her email addresses. Both Susanne and I are pilgrims by vocation and by choice. I moved four times by the time I graduated from high school (not all that much by today’s standards). Counting seminary, I moved eight times in active ordained ministry. And, so far, we have moved three times in retirement!
Pilgrims indeed, especially when you figure in that both Susanne and I traveled extensively in ministry. In the nine years I worked for the Church-wide organization, located at 815 Second Avenue in New York City, I made trips to England, France, Italy, South Africa, Tanzania, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Russia, Armenia, the Seychelles, Malta, Brazil, Cuba, and the Philippines, and countless cities and towns across these United States. I am comfortable living the life of a pilgrim!
Recently, we had decided to continue the “downsizing” process begun in retirement and found a lovely condominium in Iowa City. This is a great university town with all the things to commend it such communities have across the country and world — lectures, concerts, athletic events, a progressive culture Susanne and I both appreciate. (It is no accident that many in Iowa refer to Iowa City as “The Peoples’ Republic of Iowa City!”).
In addition, Susanne and her first husband lived here for many years, raised their boys here, and both she and I have many friends in this community. There are two great Episcopal churches here — historic Trinity Church nestled in the downtown area and New Song Episcopal Church, the latest mission congregation of the Diocese of Iowa which was begun during my tenure as bishop and of which Susanne was a founding member.
So, even though — in this season of preparation and expectation — we have just moved, it feels sort of like coming home.
But then, maybe that’s the way it always is for pilgrims!