|The Reverend Monte Giddings, Archdeacon|
INTERVIEW WITH MONTE GIDDINGS, ARCHDECON
What was the most important moment in your spiritual journey?
There have been many meaningful, life-changing, spiritual moments in my life. But, you know, for me, what’s actually more important than the moments that happened long ago, are the moments that happen today, here and now. The moments that center me — that place me in my right place — come every year during the annual liturgy that marks the veneration of the cross at St. Michael and All Angels. These services remind me of why I am where I am. I feel like I’m in the family of God.
Then there are those times when I’m sitting with someone who is sick or dying. God is in those moments. Those experiences are incorporated into your soul, and it changes you.
How do you know that God is at work in your life?
All I can say is that I’ve experienced him. I’ve experienced God’s work in my life. Several years ago, I was going through a particularly difficult period in my life, and during this time, when I prayed, I would ask God — beg God — for a miracle. This went on for quite awhile. “God, I need a miracle.” Then, about a year later, on a Sunday morning during Lent, I was sitting up behind the pulpit during the liturgy, looking out at the congregation, and was overcome by this great peace, and I felt God ask me “How many miracles do you need?”
Describe St. Michael and All Angels to someone who’s never been here and knows nothing about the congregation.
I’d say we’re a wisdom community. We’re not the kind of people who will tell you what to think. We’re willing to listen. We won’t judge you, but we will help you find God in your life.
What’s the most satisfying thing about your ministry?
It’s wonderful the way that love comes back to you. I try to make my ministry about love. You know, just put the love out there. And you do that, and you find that it all comes back. All that love comes back. It’s the most rewarding, satisfying, thing there is.
What’s the Main Thing about your ministry?
Here’s the main thing — and this may sound strange, at first, coming from someone who’s ordained — but I don’t really know what it means to be a “Christian.” The meaning of the word itself has become more, and more, confused over time. But I do know that I seek to follow Christ. I’m a follower of Jesus. I try to live my life as a follower of Christ. And my ministry is to help others follow him, too. I want to love others as God has loved me, and I want to help others experience God’s love for themselves.
What do you do for fun?
Well, I have five grandkids, so that gives you some idea of what I do for fun. It’s not exactly relaxing, always, but they’re a lot of fun! I love spending time with our daughters. But mostly, I just like being with my wife, Jill. We’re great travelers, but we don’t need to be off on a trip to have fun. Just being together is enough.
Why should someone come to St. Michael and All Angels?
You will be accepted here, just as you are. You will be nurtured here. You’ll find that this is a place where you can listen for God and listen to God. And, I guess, I’d say that if you come join us, you’ll find sanctuary here.