Canon Britt's Return

Canon Britt's Return

by the Rev. Canon Britt Olson

Having arrived safely back at the office on November 6, I want to share with you the final third of my sabbatical. This time away has been an incredible gift from all of you in the Diocese, our staff and the bishop. Thank you for your support and prayers and for the amazing ministry you have continued to do while I was gone. I am blessed.

The focus of my time in the United Kingdom was a week-long retreat on the Scottish Island of Iona on the far Northwest coast. Along with 23 people from the U.K., U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand, including my husband Bryon and my dear friend Jackie, we explored our connection with the holy in a spiritually diverse way. For me, the process was held and supported by the daily morning and evening prayer times with the Iona Community in the ancient abbey. This ecumenical community continues the practices of prayer, worship and social action that have been the hallmarks of a Christian presence there since the arrival of St. Columba and his monks in the sixth century.

During one evening Eucharist I was moved to tears by the simple Eucharist in which the priest elevated the bread and wine according to the ancient pattern but in a way that was entirely new and powerfully present to each one gathered there. It was the deepest confirmation of my commitment as a part of the Body of Christ and confirmed in me the desire to live out my ministry to its fullest in communion with others in the Church.

Upon our return to the States, Bryon and I made visits to friends and family in the Pacific Northwest. It was a wonderful time of re-connection with many who are dear to both of us. After Bryon flew home, my best friend from High School drove me from her home in Seattle to the ferry terminal outside Vancouver B.C. for the final event of my sabbatical, a four-day “Art of Hosting” event sponsored by the Episcopal Church with the Rev. Tom Brackett as convener. This time together and the way we formed as community and learned new ways of organizing will profoundly shape my work in the years ahead. Megan Anderson, who is a final year seminarian from our Diocese was also present. If you find yourself in conversation with either of us, you will get an earful of what was so very exciting and transformative from that experience.

After thousands of miles and buckets of rainwater in South Sudan, England, Scotland, Oregon, Washington and Canada, I returned to Northern California for a final free weekend of glorious sunshine and the beauty of warm, autumnal days. It will be a joy to re-connect with many of you at Convention and with others as the months proceed. I have carried you on this journey and been carried by you while I was away. I am profoundly grateful.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. jamie newkom wrote:
Hope you had a grand experience. Nancy and I were there in 1995. Spent 21
days out from yuba city. Toured Iona. The Orkneys, Edinburgh, plus Norfolk,
UK. Toured a tinyy church in Suffolk built in about 600AD of Saxon archie-
tecture. We met and stayed 5 days with Bill and Helen Cook who wrote the
masterpiece "Khaki Parish" about their experience during WW2. Also attended
All Souls Langham Place in London and got to hear John R.W. Stott preach
on "The Ingredients of Christian Salvation". All Souls was the only parish
John Stott ever had. He was retired when we were there and he died at 88.
I could go on and on. Blessings to you all.

Fri, November 9, 2012 @ 9:35 AM

2. Barbara Elizabeth wrote:
Welcome Home Britt!

Fri, November 9, 2012 @ 9:48 AM

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