Wednesday, 16 July 2008

An anniversary of sorts

This month marks an anniversary of sorts. I have now lived longer in the United States than I had lived in the United Kingdom.

I came here on or about July 7th 1976 when I was just over 32 years old. Now I am twice that age.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you a bit of how I came to be here.

But for now, please know that my immigration to these United States has been all for my good.

I have served four wonderful parishes in Massachusetts. In the Episcopal Church I have found a freedom to minister which would most likely not have happened in the Church of England - bound as it is by bureaucracy and class snobbery. I served under three great Bishops, (and three who were “not so hot”).

My quality of life has far exceeded that which I might have expected as a Church of England Parson, so much so that I was able to retire at age 62.

My late mother was able to make at least eight visits to the States. These visits enriched her life so greatly, and she made many friends here.

Five of my eight siblings have visited me here. Each has been blessed and en-joyed by the wonderful American gifts of hospitality.

I became an American citizen in 1984. I did so under the Revolutionary War slogan of “no taxation without representation”!

When I became a citizen a local newspaper in Holyoke, MA interviewed me. One of the things I said was “when you get married, you have to develop a new loyalty to your spouse, which is greater than your loyalty to your family of origin. But that does not mean that you have to stop loving your family”.

I am happy to be an American citizen. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are second to none. But I will always “love” the land of my birth and formation – the United Kingdom.

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