In the winter of 2016, I spent nearly two weeks in Egypt with Bishop Grant LeMarquand. On that trip we stayed for a few days in a monastery. During our stay I had the privilege of helping two of the residents tend their sheep. As they prepared me for the task, told me, in decent English, that when they released the sheep from the pen, they would run very fast. Our job was to stay as close to them as possible, and keep them on the path so they wouldn’t eat the beans growing in the field along the way. Our destination was a fallow field, full of green grass where the sheep could safely graze. We were ultimately successful. As we were watching the sheep graze I remember thinking back to the parable of the Good Shepherd. As I reflected, the Lord told me in a clear voice, “I have a flock for you.”
Only a handful of people have ever heard that story, but I trust all of you are aware that I was formally instituted as the rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd on Monday, January 25th, 2021. Last summer, in the midst of the global pandemic, the Lord called me out of a season of church planting and into a new season as a rector. While I imagined that the Lord might one day call me to such a ministry, I never imagined it would happen before the one-year anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, and in the middle of a global pandemic.
Covidtide has done its best to put a damper on our worship across the diocese in the past 12 months, episcopal services notwithstanding. At my institution, we had no formal reception afterwards, there were no handshakes or hugs given during the peace, and all of our parishioners partook in communion utilizing COVID-safe pre-prepackaged wafers and wine. Despite these abnormalities, the service was a vibrant celebration of new ministry, and I would not have changed a thing. After the service Bishop Lawrence shared with my wife, Sara, that something struck him as being very special about the whole evening. I have to agree with him wholeheartedly. The Holy Spirit showed up and well over 250 people joined us, in person and online, as we joyously stepped into this new season that God has in store for us.
As I stood in the narthex, hugged my wife and kids, fist-bumped my beloved parishioners, and applied copious amounts of hand sanitizer, the Lord assured me that He is with me. He has, in this season, called me to be a shepherd to His flock at the Church of the Good Shepherd. I pray, as I prayed that night, that He will continually make me an instrument of his salvation for the people He has entrusted to my care. May I shepherd His flock well as we seek to grow His kingdom here in Charleston.
By The Rev. Will Klauber, Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston