What a whirlwind the past few months have been – and June promises to be the same! In the Household, much work is being done to prepare for the time after my departure, both for the short term (supply clergy, various ministry needs from the laity, etc.) and for the longer term (groundwork for the calling process for an Interim or Rector-Time-Certain and the next Rector.) Our excellent staff and the Vestry and, especially, the Wardens have been at work for months now laying that groundwork. The assistance of the Rev. Canon Michael Spear-Jones, Canon for Transition and Clergy Development for the Diocese, has been invaluable to them and to me. Many thanks to all that have been engaged in that work and to the whole parish for being patient with the process as we all requested when this decision was first announced. This process – of our saying good-bye to each other and preparing for the steps that will follow – can be nerve-wracking in some churches. Because of our health as a Household and the great leadership both in the parish and diocese, we are mercifully sparing ourselves unnecessary angst. Kudos to us all!
In the weeks ahead, there will be, as you know, several opportunities for us to say farewell to each other. There is a letter in this Messenger from Craig Akers, chair of the committee doing the planning, about the three events planned – a Parish Picnic, my last Sunday, and a dinner at Salisbury Country Club. I am deeply grateful to Craig and those assisting him in these preparations, for their hard work. It is appropriate that he be in charge of seeing me off since eleven years ago as my personal liaison to the Search Committee, he was the first person I got to know well here during the search process.
I will, as you know, continue as the Rector of the Parish, though on Sabbatical Leave, until Halloween. The Wardens, the Diocese and I are currently in conversations about how that time will work in terms of the Rector’s responsibilities, and we will be announcing details when they are worked out. Normally, after a Rector leaves, all pastoral and liturgical responsibilities end – but with a Sabbatical in place, there could be some situations that might alter that norm. Basically, though, my time with the Parish in everyday functions will be over July 1 except for the wedding in August of Joy Walsh and Glenn, which was on the calendar before my decision to retire.
There are so many things I wish to say to you all – and I will do so as the days wind down. Now is not really the time for much of it – except to say that as “the time” approaches, I want you all to know how wonderful my time with you has been. I have learned much, matured at least a bit, grown in ways I cannot yet fully understand. And I have loved it all – and all of you. Enough for now – “details to follow” as they say on TV.
Yours in Christ’s Love,