Another year as begun at The Citadel, which means there are a lot of changes. This new crop of Knobs remind me just how quickly the world changes. For instance, did you know that since they arrived on this planet….
· The United States has always been at war.
· The Ali/Frazier boxing match for their generation was between the daughters of Muhammad and Joe.
· They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
· If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are oft ignored.
· They disagree with their parents as to which was the “first” Star Wars episode.
· Exxon and Mobil have been one company—and it doesn’t own any gas stations.
· A Bush and a Clinton have always been campaigning for something big.
· Michael J. Fox has always spoken publicly about having Parkinson’s disease.
However, some change is rooted in tradition. The new crop of freshmen are experiencing soul crushing change… moving from “High School Hero” to “Citadel Zero” is a challenge! But, it’s a rite of passage that is well worn. Knobs still shutter in their shoes when they get to Matriculation day – and they have a stone cold look (with water in their eyes) when I see them at church the next day. They still walk in the gutter. And, they are convinced that every upperclassman hates them.
And in the middle of their chaos and introduction to The Citadel’s traditions, St. Albans remains ever faithful to presenting the Good News of Jesus – a reality we simply can’t do without the partnership we share with alumni and friends of the ministry.
And for that, I want to say, “Thank You.”
And, this “Thank You” is an extra special one – because it is the last one that I will write as the Anglican/Episcopal Chaplain to the Corps. During the Summer, the Bishop asked that I would consider stepping back into the role as Rector of a parish. That started a journey which ended in my being called to a wonderful parish, Trinity Church in Myrtle Beach.
As you can imagine, this is a bit of a bittersweet moment for my family. We’ve been ministering together at The Citadel for over 8 years – but it’s exciting to know that all my experiences at St. Alban’s will carry forward into this new calling. So, in September we moved to Myrtle Beach and I’ve been commuting back and forth to ensure the cadets had a chaplain during the week.
And, now, I’m very proud to announce that The Rev. Canon Doug Peterson has agreed to come back to The Citadel as an interim Chaplain until we hire the perfect new Chaplain that the Lord has for us. Canon Peterson served as the Episcopal Chaplain to the Corps for many years before I arrived – so his gracious willingness to join St. Alban’s again is a wonderful gift.
With this move, I will become like all of our friends and alumni – a faithful supporter of St. Alban’s Chapel.
Some things change. Some things stay the same. But faithfulness to the Gospel is something that we can all participate in. Fr. Doug will keep the ministry moving forward. The board and bishop will continue to steward the chapel. And I will continue to support this ministry – ever thankful for all I got to see the Lord accomplish in the past eight years.
I do hope that you will continue to support St. Alban’s Chapel! In the midst of the changes of life – the Gospel is what Cadets need most. And as St. Alban’s shares the Gospel it is our great privilege to stand beside her and bless that ministry.
Thank you, for your partnership and support!
Greg Smith +
(former!) Chaplain to The Citadel (Episcopal/Anglican)
(incumbent) Rector, Trinity Church, Myrtle Beach