Before her rich ministry in the church, the Rev. Cindy Voien, finally instituted yesterday as fifth rector of St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, Buena Park, taught philosophy at Whittier College. In retrospect, think of it as ministry to anxious adolescent minds, helping them unpack dense, complex texts that take the long view of life as a continual process of learning and maturation, giving them tools that would, at least in theory, help them be successful wherever they went.

It’s not unlike what God said to Joshua as he assumed authority over the tribes. We heard the passage during Cindy’s service Saturday afternoon. On the day the pope accused Putin of infantile savagery, it seemed especially to be an invitation to calm, mature, well-discerned, loving Christian servant leadership of the type Cindy has provided at St. Joseph’s since being called as rector in early 2020.

Her institution service was to have been that April. The germ delayed her rite but not her work. The parish is preparing to build the Orchard View Apartments, affordable housing for older neighbors, while continuing its many in-reach and outreach ministries, including to at-risk young adults. Diverse, friendly, welcoming, pastoral, and prophetic, our siblings in Buena Park are doing the earthly work of the Risen Christ about as well as it can be done.

I preached and celebrated and luxuriated in the beautifully crafted munchies afterward. St. Joseph’s’ last vicar and first rector, the Rt. Rev. Ed Little, was along, as was Cindy’s friend and mentor, the Rev. Canon Lynn Jay, and her area dean, the Very Rev. Jeannie Martz, who compared notes afterward with veteran music minister Kathleen Najarian (whose equally musical spouse invented the electric ʿūd). My fellow Grateful Dead fan Tom Brown was my gracious chaplain. The Rev. Dominique Nicolette Piper was deacon of the mass, Debi Rhine minister of ceremonies. Read more about this wonderful church here.