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“Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.”
Words: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892);
Music: Repton, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918)
Last Saturday (at the time of writing, at least), the Rt. Rev. Hector F. Monterroso confirmed 38 of our beloved students into the Episcopal Church. It was a hugely joyful and much anticipated day we had to postpone twice because of the pandemic.

As students came up, their families gathered around these young people, laying hands on them. Bishop Monterroso then placed his hands on their heads as our students confirmed the choices many of their parents had made on their behalf at their baptisms.

Watching each young person make his or her way to the altar and kneel before the cross, surrounded by those who love them was poignant–especially after a year of such disruption and difficulty. Their quiet, consistent, enduring faith was humbling.

After the final family returned to its pew, we sang the above words from the hymn, “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,” and a peace settled over the room–something much anticipated had happened: we were reunited with friends and families after a year apart, and order was restored. A year of striving, strain and stress was coming to an end, and God was dropping a dew of quietness over each of us.

I would encourage you to find a recording of this song, particularly the arrangement by H.A. Chambers, and listen to it. In this changing season, some of you are simply thrilled at the regathering–allow God to come into that joy. Some of you are angry with those who are jubilantallow God to calm and quieten you so you are able to connect with those with whom you disagree. Some of you are hugely nervous about returning to fellowship without masks allow God to take your strain and stress, and come as you are ready with or without a mask. Some of you are frustrated about how long it has taken usallow God to meet you in your striving. Some of you are conflictedallow God to give you His peace and clarity.

My prayer as each of us adjust to this changing world is this:

May our (re)ordered life together reflect the beauty of His perfect peace.
The Rev. Jane P. Ferguson
Associate for Liturgy, Student Ministries and Outreach
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