My wife Cheri and I will be celebrating 35 years in ministry together on Sunday, September 29th, and everyone is invited to share that special day with us. Matins (Morning Prayer) is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with a catered luncheon following the Liturgy. As always, we will be worshipping according to the rite of our incomparable English Liturgy with Gregorian chant and the great hymns of the Church..
Cheri and I have served in ministry together in four states, and I have ministered in positions as diverse as pastor and college teacher, Ecumenical Officer and editor of an official Provincial Church periodical. I have been a church planter, rector, para-church minister, and teacher. Most of these past 35 years have been in full time ministry, but I have also been bi-vocational, serving as a tent making clergyman.
Cheri’s hard work outside of the home has made it possible for me to engage in full time ministry these many years, as remuneration for clergy is often low and benefits all but nonexistent. I don’t know what I would have done without her. She is indeed my better half.
The life of a clergy family is a life of sacrifice, a life in a fishbowl, and often a life of poverty. One year I was called away on an emergency pastoral call on our daughter Hannah’s birthday. Hannah was just a child then. It was feared a parishioner was dying so I had to go immediately. By the grace of God she pulled through, and Hannah understood why I had to be away on her birthday, but a priest’s family does sacrifice a lot with dad being literally on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Without a committed and faithful family I would not have been able to be a committed and faithful priest.
I have had the privilege of serving under some of the finest Anglican bishops of the late 20th and 21st centuries, — real men of God. Sadly for us, they have all gone to be with the Lord.
These bishops include Bishop Donald Davies, onetime Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska, and first Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, who later served in the Anglican Continuum; Bishop Patrick Murphy, a protege of Bishop Donald Davies, and the 1973 winner of the Keble Award from the old American Church Union; Archbishop Robert Sherwood Morse, one of the four original Continuing Anglican bishops and the longest serving, an intellectual and spiritual giant, a man of great vision, and a man who had a profound and lasting impact on my life and ministry; and Bishop Royal Grote, a man who combined real missionary zeal with a pastor’s heart, exhibited sincere humility, and bore much fruit in his service to God and the Church.
I am as excited about the ministry today as I was on the day I was ordained. The past 35 years have been such a blessing to me, and I look forward to the next 35 years of ministry should the Lord tarry, although I eagerly anticipate the Blessed Hope of our Lord’s coming, and pray, Maranatha — Come Lord!
I hope that you will join Cheri and I this Sunday, September 29th, to celebrate our 35th anniversary in Christian ministry. Matins is at 9:15 AM, with the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, followed by a catered luncheon in our parish hall. If you have any questions or need directions you can visit our parish website at: www.holycrossparishomaha.com, call the church office at (402) 573-6558, or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you on Sunday!
Fr. Victor Novak+
HOLY CROSS PARISH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127