To the clergy and people of the Parish of Warragul,
Greetings on this great feast day in the life of the Church, in the name of our risen and ascended Lord!
Beginnings and endings; endings and beginnings. These are tender moments in our pilgrimage as sisters and brothers in the Body of Christ.
There will be a range of feelings among us and within Tracy and Sven today, including perhaps: gratitude, celebration, accomplishment, grief, and uncertainty.
We need to honour these feelings in ourselves and in each other, and offer them up to the throne of perfecting and completing grace, with our whole selves, exactly as and where we are in this moment.
Tracy has been a wonderful colleague in the five years since it was announced she was coming to the Diocese of Gippsland.
Organised, responsive, collaborative, and missionally strategic; her leadership skills are self-evident, and so it’s no surprise the General Synod Office has ‘snaffled’ her for the important role she will fill for the Anglican Church nationally with the Families and Culture Commission.
As one of Gippsland’s General Synod representatives, Tracy’s contribution in that forum was significant, as has been her input into several diocesan Synods, including the most recent one of which this Parish was a gracious co-host.
As we heard last Sunday morning, during Synod, Tracy is a gifted preacher, who – in the words of our Diocesan Vision – engages the Scriptures ‘with reverence and rigour’.
She has been a faithful priest and pastor to the community at Warragul, including during the very challenging years of Covid lockdowns, when the online offerings generated from here were of the highest quality, and the broadest reach: accessed by many across the Diocese and beyond.
Our sense of loss today is mitigated by the knowledge that Tracy’s Licence as a priest will be held in Gippsland, connecting us with her and her ministry, and her with our life and work in an ongoing way.
We are very proud of Tracy, and of the small but significant part we have played in her vocational journey, and are pleased to be supporting the mission of the wider church by releasing her into this ministry with our prayerful support and blessings.
Tracy and Sven, we will miss you, and yet we discern with you the rightness of your openness to Holy Spirit’s leading in this direction.
May the same Holy Spirit, whose outpouring on all flesh we celebrate again today, hover over the waters of this new dispensation to bring forth light and life, for you and your family, and for the people you will serve, especially those women, men, and children who bear heavy burdens as a result of family violence and other cultural challenges we face in our church and our society.
I look forward to being with you all in Warragul again soon.
In the meantime, thank you for honouring Tracy and Sven today, and for the furthering of God’s kingdom in which you have so willingly laboured with them over these last five years.
Tracy and Sven, may the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and give you peace, now and always. Amen.
Grace and peace,