Beloved St. John’s community,
I am full of both immense gratitude and also poignant sadness to bid a warm farewell and blessing for our Seminary Intern, Elizabeth Lienesch. She will preach on Sunday May 22, her final Sunday with St. John’s, when we will honor and bless her in the service and in a coffee hour “farewell” party at 10am. She has been with us for the last two years as part of her Luther Seminary academic process and also as part of her formation to become a priest in the Episcopal Church. Since she joined us in May 2020, just before George Floyd was murdered—at the beginning of the pandemic—to say that her internship has been atypical is an understatement.
Yet she has poured her unique gifts of reflection, depth, leadership, and organization into this community as if she were already an ordained priest. She has led small groups, chaired the adult formation team, been centrally involved in discerning how the Holy Spirit was inviting St. John’s to respond to the twin traumas of the pandemic and George Floyd’s murder, led a parish-wide “in-reach” to determine our pastoral needs, preached beautifully, participated with staff to create innovative worship services in Advent and Lent, visited Park Shores to lead morning prayer and visit with parishioners, and in all respects has demonstrated in spades that the Holy Spirit has called her to the priesthood. She has missed some of the more typical features of a seminary internship like learning about weddings and funerals, but she has learned how a church adapts in face of massive, unprecedented and unpredictable change. I have no doubt that God will use her to bless any community of which she is a part, and only regret that St. John’s can’t hire her full time immediately due to current resources.
Please join me in offering your thanks and blessing to Elizabeth, her wife Claire, daughter Frankie and baby-in-utero, due in July. I’d especially welcome your presence on May 22, her final Sunday at St John’s when she will preach, and when we will bless and send her with our love.
In Christ’s love,