Dear St. Matthias’ Community,
I am writing this letter to inform you of my resignation, as rector of St. Matthias’ Episcopal Church. I hope you are aware that this decision was not made without months of prayer, and the sadness that comes from leaving a place, and good people, who are much loved. The vestry has accepted my resignation and my final Sunday at St. Matthias’ will be on July 26.
I have been blessed beyond measure to serve this congregation these past five years. I pray that each and every one of you will enjoy prosperity and health. My goal in being your pastor has been to be an effective, faithful servant with you in prayer and worship, in being a pastoral presence for those in need, and, most importantly, to encourage you in your journey as you seek to grow in faith and serve God in Christ Jesus. The marker for me in staying or leaving is my ability to be faithful and effective in each of those areas. My goals for being your rector were similar, to be a good steward of resources, to encourage a prayerful and faith centered vestry, and center our ministries as a congregation, no matter what our size, to be witnesses to God’s Love in word and deed.
In many ways we have grown in Christ together, yet there is much work to be done in the coming years that is less a match for my gifts, which center in pastoral care and the social justice of the Gospel proclaimed by our Savior. In the immediate future I believe that you need a different kind of leader. I cannot say what that leadership will look like but I hope that their gifts will be a joyful match for your current and future needs, and that they will see in you the blessing and love for one another that I have found to be such a gift here.
Please know that this was a difficult and sorrowful decision for me, but the right one. Know too that you are greatly loved and I will continue to serve the congregation to my best ability in these remaining weeks. I appreciate your prayers and pray that this letter finds you in good health. You may wonder where I am going. I have received a call to be the rector of a small church, St. John’s Church in Marion, NC which is such a good match that I am reminded once again that the hand of God guides us always to the place we are each supposed to be if only we watch and listen.
When my new clergy class attended CREDO, we were given the following reflection to guide us, it has been resurfacing in my prayer life for some time now:
This is the lesson on following the way. Remember it
How do you follow the Way? Go where you are sent.
Wait till you are shown what to do.
Do it with the whole self.
Remain till you have done what you were sent to do.
Walk away with empty hands.
How much will it cost? The cost is everything, for all you are and all you have will be asked of you before the journey runs its course.
How will you know your fellow travelers? Their faces are marked by the scars of love.
No one will ever tell you that the Way is easy; only that it is possible.
No one can tell you if the journey is worthwhile, for your wages are concealed in the hand of God, and will be shown you only on the last day of eternity.
But whoever chooses to follow the Way will have the joyous company of God’s beloved fools as fellow travelers, and a resting place, at journey’s end, in the Mecca of the heart.
This is the lesson on following the way. Remember it.
~(quoted by M. R. Ritley in Gifted By Otherness)
Faithfully, your fellow traveler,