top of page

M3daas3, part 5 (pronounced 'me-daa-si')

When I first spoke to Steve and Donna, I told them that I was on my way to a Mission Trio. They invited me to respond to a few questions they would send to me by email. I spent part of my time on the Mission Trip to respond to the questions that they sent. The responses formed the basis for the ongoing conversations with members of the Search Committee, and eventually the Vestry. What most intrigued me was the fact that my interactions with the Search Committee and Vestry made me feel like Christ Church would be a natural fit. Interestingly, some of the members of the Search Committee who made the trip to Philadelphia to worship with me at toasty St. Paul’s also felt that way.

Much as I believed that I had found the kind of congregation that I was looking for, there was some hesitation on my part. From the moment I first saw the posting of the search for a new Christ Church Rector for Christ Church up until the last day of the deadline for the submission of documents expressing an interest, I had resisted sending my documents because I figured I wouldn’t be called, so why bother?

I am not exactly sure what caused me to change my mind on the last day of the deadline, but I probably countered my earlier argument that the worst the Search Committee or the Vestry could do was to say, "No."

So, what the heck - apply!

And applied I did.

And that I believe has changed my story, and yours.

I had no doubt in my mind, when I received a call from Sonni with the good news of my call to serve as Rector, that Christ Church was taking a huge gamble - I had never served as Rector before. The closest I have been to serving as Rector was when I was a Vicar of St. James’ Anglican Church, Bogoso, Ghana. It really surprised me that such a historic and important congregation would take this huge gamble.

And so, to the Search Committee and the Vestry, M3daas3.

The awareness of this huge risk that Christ Church took did weigh on me. And I had to carry this joyous burden of proving and re-proving that Christ Church made the best decision. As I result, I have wholeheartedly embraced the opportunity to pour my heart and soul into our ministry, often stretching us to limits we never thought possible, and to welcome life-giving ministries that speak of the caliber of people we are - faithful Christians who at the barest minimum, want to live out the good news of God in Christ Jesus.

Just like a newly married couple typically head off somewhere for a honeymoon, so it is with a new Cure or a new position. New employees do get some honeymoon - this is a period where they are given the space to acclimatize, meet new colleagues, learn the layout of their office space, and get to know the nature of the job, among others. Mistakes during this period are mainly forgiven; after all, the new hire is considered to be still learning. The dynamics do change after that honeymoon period - that’s when employees can get written up, and things like that.

During my honeymoon, I experienced a rude awakening. It brought me to another low point in my life and my ministry. It reminded me of some of the stuff from South Carolina. I didn’t realize, within my short stay, that some could not only be vicious but could paint a narrative to assassinate another person’s character. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this point in my ministry. And I always wonder where I went wrong or if I wrongly assumed that there were no landmines. But I am grateful to the many parishioners, especially Mary Keath, Puala Rees, and Michon Semon, who stepped up and helped me navigate those waters. To Mary, Paula and Michon, M3daas3.

I believe that the past seven years have been such a blessing for me and our community. We have done a lot, and much as I feel tempted to go back in time and list all the number of things that we have done, I don’t think that is necessary. As some would say, the proof is in the pudding.

And if you want to know the depth of our ministries, just wait for our announcement time each Sunday. I recently remarked to a few folks that although it is summer when many people relax and get back into the groove in the fall, that isn't the case for Christ Church. Our common life continues at the same regular pace. To the many volunteers who make our common life-enriching, M3daas3.

Yes, we have done a lot - most of the year, we have a third service on Sunday mornings, for example, and that says a lot about each one of you and the work you put into making sure that this innovative idea became a part of our life.

I cannot put into words how grateful I am to each one of you for the amazing support and contribution towards the life of this special and thriving congregation. To all of you, M3daas3.

We have been through the worst pandemic in our lifetime, but that didn’t slow us down. We were quick to adapt - I initially had to rely on my two older daughters to help with offering Morning and Evening Prayer. We started in Old Brick and then began to offer it at home. I am so glad that many of our parishioners have taken over continue to provide this worship opportunity to hundreds of people. To Havi and Francy, Ellen, Jane, Erin and Jason, Jonelle, Rebecca, John and Bunmi, Donna, and Jan, M3daas3.

Offering online services on Sundays was a challenge. Quite apart from the fact that our internet service wasn’t optimum, we also didn’t have the equipment to run online services. We had to rely on our individual phones to make sure that services were brought to you. I remember when on several occasions the phone we were using to livestream fell and so we had to stop services mid-stream to fix it before we continued. But you were all very patient and supportive. I am glad to say that with the help of our untiring Communications Administrator, Chris, Parish Life Coordinator, Yetti, and former Music Director, Adam, we were able to provide online services to all our parishioners. Because of their work, we still continue to offer online worship. To Chris, Yetti, and Adam, M3daas3.

I am grateful for the work that we have done. But the reality is that there’s more to do. As we prepare to celebrate our 300th anniversary, there’s some serious work that we have to do. If we are about to celebrate this milestone, we should also remember to make sure that Christ Church continues its mission of reconciling all people to God within the Columbia community and beyond.

I have no doubt in my mind that we all need God in our lives. I have no doubt in my mind that we all need to be reminded of the sacredness of each other and the depth of grace to which we have to extend to each other. I have no doubt in my mind that the church plays an important role in all of our lives - but we need to be reminded of this holy role of the church in our lives and the church exists to constantly remind us of its holy role.

The question has always been, would the church, especially Christ Church, have the wherewithal to continue its ministry into the future? I am convinced that we can, but we will have to take certain steps today to prevent a challenging future for those who will be worshipping in the same space 300 years from today.

I have no idea what the parishioners, led by the Reverend McGill, thought when they were working to establish Queen Caroline Parish. Did they know that 300 years from the day that the Maryland General Assembly approved their request that the church they were establishing would be a thriving congregation? I don’t know. But I suspect that they believed that something magnificent could come out of the seed they sowed. Remember the Parable of the Mustard Seed? To Reverend McGill and the early pioneers of Queen Caroline Parish, M3daas3.

Since we believe that they sowed a seed, which we enjoy the fruit, we too can sow a seed so that those who come after us may enjoy the fruit of the seed.

Over the past several weeks I have been working with the Vestry and a Task Force, which is made up of parishioners, about the kind of seed we ought to sow to guarantee the future ministries of Christ Church. These conversations have arisen because as a congregation we cannot solely rely on the traditional models of pledge and plate offering to support our ministries and our common life.

For those of us who have been reading M3daas3 over the past four weeks and have followed the conversation, I’d like to share with you that all the churches that I served in the United States - All Saints, Trinity Cathedral and St. Paul’s - have substantial endowments running into millions of dollars. These congregations draw on their endowments to support their ministries.

Unfortunately, Christ Church doesn’t have an endowment and so we have to rely entirely on your kind generosity to keep running. But the reality is that this particular model, based on the trajectory of many churches, isn’t sustainable. For that reason, we have to devise plans that would help us diversify our income stream so that we will always be in a position to support ourselves for years to come.

Sometime last week, a parishioner who works for the local library called to interview me. One of her questions was, how do I see myself and Christ Church in five years? My response to her was that I want to see Christ Church as a thriving community of faith that has enough bandwidth to support itself for years and years to come.

During the lull of the summer months, the Vestry and Task Force would be holding five small group meetings at the homes of parishioners, two small group meetings at the church, and two meetings on Zoom. They are still working on the dates, times, and venues for the meetings that would be held in homes, but that information will be published as soon as possible.

It is my prayer that each of us would find it useful to participate in these meetings. I believe it is critically important that we commit ourselves to the future of our church, and I pray that we will secure the absolute support of each of you in this endeavor.

And so, to all of you, M3daas3. I am eternally grateful to each of you for being a part of my twenty-five year ministry. M3daas3.


(M3daas3 means "Thank You" in my native dialect. This thank-you tour of sorts is meant to highlight pivotal moments and people in my life and to give thanks for all those who, by the grace of God, made it happen for me. This is part 5 and the conclusion of a multi-part series (part one; part two; part three; part four).


bottom of page