|The Rev. Susan Sowers
Joining You – in Ministry and Life!
With excitement and joy, I look forward to joining you at the Cathedral of St. Andrew on June 30! In anticipation of my arrival, Father Walter has graciously invited me to write a letter of introduction as I make my way from Pensacola, Fla., to Honolulu, Hawai’i.
I will join you after serving my first three years of ordained ministry with St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Pensacola. The wonderful people of St. Christopher’s not only loved me into the priesthood, but also showed me Christ in a thousand ways. Just this month, they threw me an “Aloha Party,” and offered me their blessing as I follow Jesus’ call to a new ministry and life with you. So while the leaving was difficult, I rejoice in this new opportunity of building Spirit-bonded relationships with my new church family as we share the love of God with others.
Just a little about my background. I’m blessed to come from a wonderful family. Bill and Mary Sowers (parents), and one brother, Bill. Growing up, my father served as an Army officer, so we lived all over the country. Loving the ethos of serving something larger than myself, I followed in my dad’s (and my mother’s father’s) footsteps by becoming a career Army officer. Just as they had done, I graduated from the United States Military Academy (1982), and served as a Transportation Corps officer for 25 years. I absolutely loved that chapter of my life; and even though I have been retired for more than six years now, I find that experience and those relationships continue to shape who I am becoming.After my last assignment as chief of staff of the Logistics Command in Iraq, I retired from the Army as a colonel, and attended seminary for three years at Virginia Theological Seminary, in Alexandria, Va. My presenting parish for ordination was also in Virginia, and I remain canonically resident there, even now. After graduation and ordination to the diaconate, I joined the Rev. Eric Long (rector), and the people of St. Christopher’s in Pensacola. Highlights for me included our mission trips to Haiti, ordination to the priesthood, women’s retreats, youth mission trips, Eucharist on the beach, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and our shared worship. Though my time there was relatively brief, my journey with God and those loving people was transformative, and comes with me.It’s my hope that this brief background sketch enables you to find a few points of connection, and to subsequently share your story with me when I arrive. Isn’t it wonderful how God demonstrates His steadfast faithfulness over and over again in our lives? It’s always amazing to see how He’s been working ahead of us all along (Isa 52:12).I truly look forward to hearing where His Spirit is leading this congregation to serve and to grow. As your newest priest, please know that I am available and eager to come alongside to assist in your own ministries. My dear friend, Donna Van Winkle (from Hawai’i) speaks of the spiritual importance of aloha and ‘ohana for the people of this state. It is with that spirit that I offer myself, and pray I will be received. Our Emmanuel-God is with us, for us, and in us!
May the Peace of our Lord be with you.
Your Sister in Christ,