Top Ten List – Mary Ward Quotes

Top Ten List – Mary Ward Quotes


As we all celebrate the call of John Leach to be our next rector and Mary Ward and I now take our leave after loving this place for 25 years,  I wanted to give a shout out of sorts to Mary Ward for what she has done for me and the Episcopal Church. She’s served this parish, and two others, faithfully in her own behind-the-scenes way and kept me grounded, encouraged, and balanced. She’s also offered me some delightful, accurate, and pretty humorous feedback. I thought a good way to say thanks to her might be to offer my Top Ten List of Mary Ward quotes. Here goes. There’s some pretty good spiritual wisdom in here too, if you’ll look for it:

10) “Amen.” Wherever she’s sitting while I am preaching or teaching, she will mouth out this word, not to express agreement with what I have said but to let me know it’s time to wrap things up.

9) “You married me before you married the church.” A good reminder to me to keep my priorities straight. And a good reminder to you that your next rector should lead a life balanced between work and family.

8) “I’ll go anywhere you choose but St. John’s in Montgomery seems like it would be a really good fit.” Some wonderful support and vocational advice offered 25 years ago.

7) “I want more WITH you not more FROM you.” A splendid invitation to me many years ago when I was a little too invested in work and needed to invest more in our relationship.

6) “Can I say #@*%?” A witty comeback when I teasingly asked her to watch her language before we went to a church function.

5) “Passing the Peace is when we get out of our phone booths and deal with the rest of the world.” We don’t have phone booths any longer but this still is a great explanation of why we pass the peace.

4) “I know you deal with difficult people all day but at least you get to change people.” A comment years ago after a hard day of raising young children.

3) “You could have at least tried.” This offered, as sermon feedback, after the search committee from St. John’s visited us in Columbia. She wasn’t very impressed with my sermon that day and was scared they might not call me.

2) “You don’t have to get old AND fat!” A comment that spurred some recent attention to diet and exercise. 

And 1) “I really liked what you were trying to say today.” My all-time favorite sermon critique. Generously affirming and appropriately humbling.

As we step away from St. John’s this month, both Mary Ward and I will greatly miss being with you. I’ll keep the list of quotes going (there might be a few uttered when she reads this) and keep you posted when we bump into each other around town. Kudos to MW. I love you. And we both love St. John’s! 

Be good to John and Sarah Leach or Mary Ward will have a few things to say.


Yours faithfully,

Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.