Today's Daily Office readings celebrate the birth of John the Baptist. When many of his disciples began to follow Jesus instead, John was cool with that, saying, "He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30.
"Move over Boomer!" A Gen X friend of mine loves to say that to me. What is the healthiest way for passing a baton? When I joined this diocese, the prevailing story about St. Margaret's was that the parish never fully mourned the passing of Brad Hall, leaving an over-large shadow for his successors. I thought some work might be needed around this in our transition. But I found a more complicated picture. Some, indeed, were longing for the good old days with Brad Hall. But more had no idea who is portrayed in the big Karn's Hall painting.
Leadership changes in a church are not a baton pass. We pass the torch of faith. And that is best done by naming and claiming: naming what inspired our past and claiming these hallmarks for our future.
I didn't get to meet Brad Hall, but Carol Hall kindly lent me his notes for ethics classes and his book of sermons. And I see two values we definitely want to name and claim for our future. He was passionate about 7-day faith, faith that guides us every day of the week, not just Sunday. And he was passionate about sharing the loving God we meet in Jesus. If we carry these values forward, there will be no shadow, only the brightest of lights.