Posted by ajenkins on May 1, 2013 under Just A Thought, The Parish | Comments are off for this article

Saint James’ Epistle, Newsletter for May

Southerners, especially Charlestonians know the expression about the difference between a Yankee and a **** Yankee is that the latter doesn’t go back North. For the last five years we have had one of those Yankees. In fact, it may be worse. Bruce McDonald has not only been a Yankee that didn’t go home, but he is a Canadian that didn’t go home. And for that, I am thankful to God.
For the last five years Major Bruce McDonald, Canadian Army Retired, has been our Senior Warden, the Rector’s Warden at Saint James and he has left just a good and Godly mark that I will be forever thankful to him and for him.
Now first, let’s be honest about the means God used to draw Bruce to Saint James and the ministry we all share. It was love. Yes, love of God and from God. But also it was love – of a beautiful blond across the aisle. Some years ago when Bruce was visiting Saint James and his friend Bill McDaniel, they were at worship when Bill said, “Hey, what about the blond across the aisle?” Eventually Bruce and Rosalyn, the blond, married and began life on James Island and at Saint James. Now isn’t that just how God works? God uses love of all sorts to get His work accomplished.
As Bruce had been a lifelong Anglican and had served and even been part of planting a church in Canada, God and we, of Saint James quickly recognized that here was a leader for “such a time as this.” Bruce was chosen for fulfill an unexpired vestry term and then reelected, therefore serving five years as our Rector’s Warden on the Vestry.
During his tenure Bruce has left not only his mark, but he has left God’s mark.
Bruce has continually told me how he doesn’t like the finances, math and budgets of the business side of church ministry. Yet, it was Bruce who recognized the possibility and importance of our using endowed funds to payoff the mortgage on the Ministry Center, making Saint James, not only debt free, but positioned for ministry. That not only made it possible for us to balance the budget, but gave us all the incentive to do so. Bruce also reorganized the Vestry, creating a Finance Team which worked with the Endowment Committee to make decisions and recommendations for the Vestry’s approval, thus freeing the Vestry to be a more vision oriented, ministry minded group. For someone that doesn’t like finances and budgets, that’s leadership.
Bruce continues to leave God’s mark on our Diocese. Bruce currently serves on the Diocesan Council, basically the vestry of the Diocese. Last year he was elected to the Ecclesiastical Court of the Diocese. This Court is formed to be the judges and jury of any charges which may be brought against the clergy. Thankfully there have been none recently. Bruce has also just been selected by our Bishop to serve on a Diocesan Communications Team who will help us respond to all the news articles and spin currently in the local and national media and international blogosphere. Again, Bruce left God’s mark, a man for such a time as this.
There is much more to say to bless and embarrass my friend Bruce, but I must have a personal note here. It was Bruce, along with the Vestry and thirteen sacrificial and generous givers who have made my sabbatical possible. Bruce along with our People’s Warden Virginia (another blessing) who asked a few folks to contribute to the sabbatical fund in order that the expense not use the precious resources we have for ministry. I am going to Israel for two months for education and renewal that I pray will bless us all. Bruce is still leaving God’s mark. Bruce continues to be a valued friend with that curious and sarcastic wit of his. I love him.
Lastly and most importantly, Bruce takes seriously James’ admonition (the brother of Jesus), “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them… And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…” (James 5:13) Many times Bruce has called on me to join him, to go pray for someone who is sick. The results have been miraculous, even to the point of one our members who was certainly close to death. Bruce continues to leave God’s mark. Thanks be to God.
1 John 4:19

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