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About Connor Gwin

Connor Gwin is an Episcopal priest serving as a School Chaplain. He is a lover of poetry, bluegrass, and 90's hip-hop. Connor is married to Emma. They make a home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with their daughter.

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Author Archive

    Dear Pastor, How Is Your Soul?

    Dear Pastor, How is your soul? I only ask because things are a bit wild right now. The ground feels a bit shaky; the future uncertain. You have become a new kind of pastor to meet a new kind of world. You are rising to meet an unprecedented challenge. You are live-streaming, prerecording, checking-in, and […]

    The Blessing (in which I begrudgingly admit everything will be alright)

    I am what my therapist calls a catastrophizer. I always play out the worst-case scenario in my head. I have done this for as long as I can remember. I used to think that it was just a way of being prudent and planning ahead. I have learned in the past few years that it […]

    How to Do Less for Lent: A Triptych

    1 There is a meme going around Episcopal Facebook™ about Lent. It is not surprising that this meme has found traction in the modern church that is more Pelagian than it realizes. With sermons and programs that focus on what you can do for God (note: it is always more than what you are currently doing), […]

    On the shortness and uncertainty of life

    “O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, we pray, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life…” (Book of Common Prayer, pg. 504)

    There are no good words for
    our collective destination. Apart
    from tragic, untimely, too soon.
    The wound at the heart of the world.
    Another angel added; a road well walked.

    Words won’t do now, not for this.

    The living bear all the grief of those who
    were and are and will one day die.
    Our plans, kingdoms, minds fall flat
    before the period at the end of each line.
    We don’t hold the pen, our days will end.
    Where then is mercy? Whither hope?

    In the beginning was the Word
    and the Word wept

    for the world, for you, for untimely,
    and too soon. The Word weeps still
    with sea-born tears that wash over
    again, again with each new sentence end.

    The mercy is presence not relief.
    Hope is a face, two hands, scarred feet.
    A quiet stand at the doorway and entry in
    to a place where to end is only to begin.

    The Parable of the Pop Quiz

    There once was a Chaplain who worked at a school in Virginia. As part of his work, he taught a course in Comparative Religion to high school seniors. His class was made up of students from around the world with varying religious and non-religious backgrounds. Given one semester to cover the major world religions, he had […]

    Eventually, maybe

    When I have the time to sit,
    And watch a sunbeam hit the steam
    That dances upward from my cup
    Like incense in this morning’s liturgy,
    I think of my roads, paths, plans,
    Achievements I’ve yet to achieve,
    Left legacies yet to leave,
    And I am disappointed
    That I cannot seem to simply be
    Instead focused on what I will be,

    Under fluorescent halos in sanctuary basements,
    Faces framed by incense steam of swill coffee,
    Drunks proclaim truth: wherever you go there you are.
    You will always be you, no matter your far-off wishing star.

    I am still stuck in Garden-grown grief,
    Longing for a life I can never know,
    A future (like the past) I’ll never meet.
    I long to be a me that will never be,
    Holding out for the time when everything
    Rhymes or fits or works and the distance
    Between now and finally when is reduced to nothing.

    When I have the time to sit,
    I can rest and watch the steam rise
    Instead of scheming or fighting to surmise
    A purpose or a plan to become some other man,
    Other than this one that sits and sees.

    Preaching Good News When Clinically Sad

    I talk about death and grief a lot. It is a running joke in my house that I am always thinking about death and I am always willing to talk to someone about grief. This shouldn’t surprise anyone given my life (and death) experiences. The work of a priest requires that you be in the […]

    You Can’t Be Serious

    I am forever struggling to be taken seriously. Perhaps it comes from being the youngest child or perhaps it is connected to my ordination at an early age. Whatever the cause, I am desperate to be seen as a serious person doing serious things.  This desire carries over into my faith life as well. I […]

    And I Will Give You Rest

    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30 God, I […]

    Welcome to Your Foxhole

    I listen to a lot of sad music.  As an Enneagram Four, I am drawn to what Ian Morgan Cron calls “delicious melancholy”. I have several playlists on my Spotify dedicated to songs that are guaranteed to make me cry or at least fit the gray mood I often find myself in. This proclivity towards […]

    I Deleted My Social Media and Didn’t Tell Anyone (Except You)

    I deleted all of my social media accounts a month ago and I didn’t tell anyone.  Well, two qualifications. First, I deleted LinkedIn (honestly, I don’t remember ever signing up for LinkedIn) and Twitter, but I only deactivated Facebook and Instagram because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and I haven’t downloaded […]

    What If I Amount to Nothing?

    What if I amount to nothing
    And come to the end with empty hands?
    No podium standing or trophy toting or
    Byline, book-bound, crown-found meaning?

    What if I am only a creature or object —
    A lesson in futility, misplaced effort,
    Humility lost and found and lost again.

    Perhaps I cannot be optimized. What if
    I accomplish nothing more than breath?
    What will I be if I become only this, only me?
    Flesh and bone filled with grace, drenched in mercy.

    This is not a race and you cannot win.
    All has been given and given and given.
    It is given again each morning, each moment.
    No scorecard in sight, no throne (save one).  

    What if I amount to nothing
    And come to the end with empty hands?
    It will be enough.