Monday, August 25, 2014

A Letter to My Parishioners

August 25, 2014 

Dear friends in Christ,

When I came to The Church of the Epiphany in May 2010, I felt like I had come home. This was a place where our love of Christ could grow and our desire to serve Him could be uplifted. I fully expected that it was also the place where I would continue in my ministry for many years.

God, it seems, has other plans. Bishop Shannon Johnston has asked me to serve as his Director for Transition Ministries at Mayo House, beginning on October 1st. The Diocese will issue a formal announcement later today, but I wanted to let you know prior to that announcement.

This call to Mayo House is an honor. To be responsible for parishes in search throughout this large and vibrant diocese is a big job, but the Bishop is confident in me, and it is certainly a topic of some passion for me. It is also a sign of his confidence in this parish that he would invite its rector to leave this place; he knows this is a healthy and vibrant church that can weather a transition with grace.

That said, I am leaving feeling like there is so much that I wish I could have gotten done, so much that we are still dreaming of and planning for, and I will miss not being a part of that. I know, though, that you are more than capable of continuing in God’s work in this place, and that whomever you call to be the fifteenth Rector of the Church of the Epiphany will find this a wonderful and Spirit-filled faith community. I am but one in a long line of priests who have loved and served you, and the next one will join the fortunate community of clergy who have been blessed by this place.

I know this is a bit of a shock – for me, too – and you will have many questions. I have spoken with the Vestry about all of this, and am happy to talk to any of you who have concerns. Our diocesan Canon to the Ordinary, The Rev. Patrick Wingo, will be handling Epiphany’s transition directly himself, since it would be odd for me to handle the search for my own successor. The Rev. Deacon Harrison Higgins will remain at Epiphany. Dorothy White’s placement for her transitional diaconate period is still being planned, but we will definitely be hosting her ordination with joy and much celebration on September 13th.

As for me, please keep me in your prayers. The new position is a daunting one, and I will need God’s grace to fulfill my new responsibilities well, as I have needed God’s grace to fulfill my responsibilities here at Epiphany.

I am grateful for all of you, especially my lay and ordained colleagues in ministry, the three Senior Wardens who have helped me during my tenure here (Anne H, Gray C, and Herb W), and the excellent Vestries with which I have been blessed. I want to offer a particular thank you to the incomparable Lucy W, our Parish Secretary, who is the glue that keeps this place together, and who has helped me avoid disaster more often than I care to admit. Doug, too, has felt loved and welcomed here, particularly in the Chancel Choir and in the Chapter 11 group. We will miss you all.

Please know that you are always in our hearts and prayers. I know there are great things to come here, and Doug and I will be cheering you on from the sidelines!

In the coming weeks, let’s share stories, laughter, hopes and memories, and let’s listen for God’s voice speaking to us in the midst of change.


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