Rector’s Blog: Vows


By the Rev. Charlie Dupree

This Sunday, The Right Reverend Jennifer Brooke-Davidson will be at St. Paul’s. She is one of two bishops who serve in the Diocese of Virginia. Surrounded by the St. Paul’s community, she will baptize, confirm, receive, and reaffirm baptismal vows. What does it mean to vow?

According to some dictionaries, a vow is a solemn promise. There are many types of vows. Those who commit themselves to religious orders take vows. Those who marry say wedding vows. Priests take vows. Vows are more than just promises to keep. Vows shape our lives. They shape the way we want life to be. Vows are a weaving together of what we want with what God wants for us and for God’s humanity. They involve a constant connection to each other, to self, and to God through prayer and special intention.

Vows aren’t magic. They don’t make everything easy. We know that vows take us on journeys of heart and spirit. When we, with the confirmands, renew our baptismal vows on Sunday, we pledge to be with each other in good times and in bad. When the road is smooth and when the road is bumpy. When we get it right, and, when we screw up.

Ultimately, we know that we need God’s help to keep our baptismal and all other vows. With God’s help, we pray that the vows we make will shape a better world – a world in which we constantly move toward justice, peace, dignity, and respect for all people. These are more than promises – they are holy standards to which Jesus has called us. And, remember . . . Jesus, too, made a vow: to be with us until the ages of ages. Vows are reciprocal and God, through the person of Jesus, has vowed to be with us as we shape and are shaped.

I hope to see you Sunday as we, the community of St. Paul’s, join with our Bishop to reaffirm solemn promises and give ourselves over to the building of God’s kingdom.

To see a list of Ash Wednesday offerings, click here.

To learn more about the 2020 Lenten Lunch Series, click here.

See you in church,


Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Richmond, Virginia
Preferred pronouns: he, him, his