Grace and peace!
My family and I won’t arrive in Madison for a few weeks yet, so I wanted to take the opportunity to 1) say “hey” and 2) let you know how much I am looking forward to joining you soon. My daughter Annie - 2 ½ - is likewise very excited and proud of her dad for landing a gig that will involve her sharing a home with Bucky the Badger. (Shhh...we’ll sort that out later...)
All four of us are very excited to be joining the St Francis family. I am particularly eager to meet each of you and hear your stories - to learn how God is at work in your life. I look forward to beginning our common life and the spiritual formation God will work in and through us, with Christ as our center. I especially look forward to the ways God will bless the university community, the city of Madison, and beyond us, through the ministry of God’s friends at St Francis.
I’m mindful of the limitations of a letter like this for purposes of introduction. If one is not careful, things could easily go the way of a bad personal classified: “I like reading, knitting, hiking, and long walks on the beach...”) Let me leave it, then, with the assurance of my prayers for you in these summer days before we meet. I am very grateful for your prayers, too, especially as my family says our goodbyes in Texas and starts filling boxes. (Our meeting in person will be the carrot at the end of the gnarly stick that is moving for Rebekah and me.)
Oh, a last thing. I’m using the summer to read a book about St Francis; it’s called Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale. It’s a novel (thus, fiction) about a pastor of a mega-church who loses his faith on a Sunday morning in the middle of his sermon and subsequently begins a pilgrimage in which he discovers an ancient faith of depth, generosity, and incredible freedom through the life of St Francis and the Franciscan community. The novel/biography format is ambitious and feels clumsy at times but the content easily excuses any rough stylistic edges. Of course I’m thinking of you at St Francis House as I read, and I am finding in the pages prayers for our life together. It’s cheap on Kindle. If you’re looking for a summer read, try it, and let me know what you think.
See you soon,
and Christ’s Peace.
The Rev. Jonathan Melton
|(L to R) Annie, Jonathan, Rebekah, and Jude|