Father Ted is one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was my priest for 28 years. I remember him from when I was a little girl at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church. I remember thinking he was a very kind, gentle man. My brother always said that his favorite part of church were Father Ted’s sermons and I have to agree. This doesn’t seem like something young children would care much about, but Father Ted delivered his messages with honesty, humor and purpose. Anyone would be drawn to that.
Before Ted married Jesse and me, we spent time with him discussing marriage, our expectations and his experiences with his wife Penny. I can’t really express how much I appreciated hearing his advice and knowing it was based on experience. It was very clear that he cherished his wife and his marriage, and that inspired both me and Jesse to strive for that kind of a relationship.
We spent more time in Ted’s office before we left for the Peace Corps. We wanted to meet with Ted for encouragement, strength, support and more of his humble advice. My Granny was dying at this time, and I was feeling very sad to leave the States knowing that I would never see her again. Father Ted was such a support and a comfort to me and by the time we left his office, I knew that we were doing the right thing by going to Azerbaijan. Throughout our time overseas, I knew that Father Ted was at home supporting us and praying for us, and that meant the world to me.
Father Ted retired on Sunday. He was Saint Mary’s priest for 28 years and has definitely earned his retirement. I know that I am not the only person who admires, respects, celebrates and loves Father Ted Berktold. He has truly touched my life and I am so thankful for that.