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December 6, 2005
I've sent you a pig named Frances, Genevra wrote. I can think of no one, including my sainted mother or Lena Horne, for whom I would have spent 3 hours trying to email a pig.

This was excellent news, a good beginning to my 25th anniversary online celebration. Actually, I had taken the precaution of sending myself a pig the night before, just in case nobody else did. But this morning the pigs were beginning to roll in -- pigs and portions of pigs -- along with scholarships for African school children and mosquito nets and seeds for farming families.

Where did all those photographs come from? Q asked when he had taken a look at the silver anniversary web page.

Oh, I don't know. I just went looking through drawers. Matt the Web Dude and I had thought it would be a good idea to include a photo montage of moments in my life and ministry for the past 25 years.

Well, I haven't seen any of them before.

Yeah. Well.
I am not a good steward of photographs. My daughters usually try to rescue them from my neglect and put them in albums, but they no longer live at home, and these somehow escaped.

Me with a smiling pair of newlyweds. Me being ordained. Me with Carol and Thora and Lynette, in the early days of women's ordination, all of us wearing fake beards and holding bibles -- Maybe these will do the trick. Me at St. Clement's, with composer Daryl Curry and actress Kathleen Chalfant, still shorn for her role in "Wit" -- I guess we were preparing for the annual Broadway Blessing. Me and Q in evening clothes, on our way out to various galas.

You had some big hair going on in some of those, Buddy wrote. Yup. And huge 80s glasses.

Me with a Coast Guard bugler: that was one of the many Veteran's Days, when we would take the old seafarers out to Sheepshead Bay and watch as a wreath was thrown into the water at 11:11. Can you believe how young we were?,/i> the old men always asked each other, finding it hard to believe that fifty years had passed since those days. And forever young, the ones who didn't come back, one of them would usually add. They would stand and stare at the water for a long time after the wreath had disappeared.

Me at a Farmworkers' march. Me at a parish beach trip. Me reading from one of my books. Me dancing and singing in a show. Me at a parish potluck. Me in front of St. Clement's in its shabbier days, and in our tiny old chapel, about the size of a suburban closet, before we built the new one. Me seated on an enormous crate of green bananas, with some of the seafarers from the banana vessel, all of us laughing. Me with my dad and my brothers at our childhood church.

One thing is certain: there is no such thing as time. 25 years is nothing once it's over. Another thing for sure: you learn how powerless you are as you get older, and the result of that is that you grow more powerful. That young ordinand thought she was pretty smart. The priest in the middle of her years knows better. This is good: you have more energy to focus on other people. And just about anything can happen.
Thanks and thanks and thanks, more thanks than I could ever express, to everyone who has walked with me these 25 years. Give thanks with me at visiting -- there's a special 25th anniversary page, and you can make a gift to Episcopal Relief and Development to mark the occasion. Thanks to Matt and to ERD for making all the web arrangements.
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