Dear People of Christ Church,
Since I announced on Sunday at the annual meeting that my ministry here will be ending on March 5, I’ve had occasion to talk with many of you about the joy and sorrow of a time like this. (My letter of Sunday afternoon is also on our website.)Transitions are, inevitably, hard. It’s hard to trust to what feels like an uncertain future. It’s hard to figure out the dividing lines between blessing and grief.
In church, we are in the business of death and resurrection, bearing witness to new life. This isn’t a death, but it is a time of entering into a liminal, in-between space that can feel a little ghostly. This is where what-has-been nurtures the seeds of what-will-be. That takes faith: faith in God’s promises to lead God’s people forward, faith in parish leaders and the diocese, and, most importantly, faith in the love of Christ that brought each of you here. A church isn’t just any organization; it’s the Body of Christ! You were called into this community because you have something to share with the world and God’s people here in this place. That calling is much, much broader and more important than any one clergy person who might serve in your midst at any given time. In the months after my departure, you will need to focus on the work before you, on nurturing your community and discerning your future. During that time, best practices require that past clergy not maintain contact with the parish (either in person or via social media, etc). That can feel difficult, but it’s also not forever.
And I’m not gone yet! Over the next six weeks, will have plenty of time to meet for coffee, dream, and pray together. Please let me know if you would like to sit down one on one to talk: that is what I would most like to spend my time doing for the rest of my time here! Rev. Norm will be leading an adult ed series for three weeks beginning on February 5 on social justice movements and the church, with a particular focus on Martin Luther King, Jr. We’ll have a good party to celebrate our work together, and your wardens and vestry will share information about what’s going on as you move into the interim period. As Sasha said on Sunday, it’s crucially important to remember that Episcopal Church polity allows for a great amount of autonomy for parishes in transition. You will be in charge of the search committee and you will be in charge of who is eventually called to be your clergy. And, above all that, remember the power of God’s love that lead you to Christ Church will lead Christ Church and all of you forward into a brilliant future.