Catie Oates-Hill
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Starting Something New 2022


Beloved in Christ,

A blessed new year to you and those you love! As we celebrate this new year and anticipate
Epiphany, we do so with a wintry backdrop (at least we do as I am writing this).
At Gretchen Schmelzer’s blog The Trail Guide writes that one of the most important antidotes
to feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness is action—or agency.
Starting small and working on constancy. Small, consistent, acts are the medicine we need.
she has suggested trying 22 new things in ’22. Spotting 22 butterflies, or reading 22 books,
trying 22 recipes, or even committing to taking 22 naps or walks or both, as needed. As a
trauma specialist she says that finding small ways to enact daily witness to our capacity to
engage with our own lives helps us feel less overwhelmed.
Over the past several years, we have, at St. Michael’s, shared in the practice of Star Words for
Epiphany. These words can help us be alert in a variety of ways to God’s presence with us. I
have loved hearing your stories of how your word has resonated (or not!) over the years, and
the creative ways you have noticed and honoured its presence. This year, Deb Ayotte had the
great idea of wooden ornament star words and we worked with a small team to create these
offerings for our Epiphany travels. Those who are able to attend in-person worship can choose
a word from the basket, or if you email or call the office and we can set one aside for pick up or
delivery.
Many of you have wondered about my new position at Bethany House of Prayer. It will
definitely be something new in 2022 in for me and for my family (and I’m guessing more than
22 new things will be a part of that move!) I will be canonically resident in the Diocese of
Massachusetts and represent Bethany House in a variety of ways in the parishes there,
including preaching and presiding. I anticipate that we will, as a family, find a parish where I
will serve as an honourary assistant and will also share in leading worship at the chapel on the
Bethany House campus for the Sisters of St. Anne who live there, and also for those who come
for retreats and workshops.
In many ways, I see this call to Bethany House as a continuation of some of the work we have
done together at St. Michael’s. Encouraging and shaping vibrant worship and lively prayer
practices amid indoor and outdoor worship space, and an invitation for those within and
outside of the church to find solace and comfort there. The role at Bethany House offers me the
opportunity to work with other Spiritual Directors in offering resources for lay people and
clergy who seek to enhance and expand the way they practice the presence of God.
Doing something new is exciting and terrifying in equal measures and I am so grateful for how
so many continue to hold me steady in daring to set out on another adventure. I am grateful to
you at St. Michael and All Angels' who have made so much space for me to share with you in 
ministry these 8 1/2 years, and I will miss being your priest very much, but trust that the God
who brought us together will continue to weave us together in love and friendship.
Much love, many prayers,
Dawna+