Apalachicola, Florida
May 10, 2022

My Dearest Friends in Christ,

I have been with you and you have been with me now for nearly three years. It has been a difficult time to say the least with my recurring health issues and the pandemic. Due to both of these situations, I have never celebrated Holy Week or Easter with you. This has been painful for me and unfair to you.

I have been hospitalized numerous times for varying reasons, but the primary cause has been my digestive health which eventually affected my kidneys, liver and lungs. Each time I'm hospitalized the pain is worse and the length of treatment is extended. I have been hospitalized twice this year already and my mental and spiritual health have been effected as well. Combined with the isolation of COVID, as I've told many of you, I am oftentimes in a dark place.

For months, many of you have ministered to me, suggesting that I need to be less stressed out, to take better care of myself, or even return to Baltimore to receive medical care. Even the members of my medical team have urged me to move to an area with excellent health care facilities. Apalachicola does not meet that standard and I have been reluctant to abandon you. Now I realize, I was just being stubborn.

At last night's vestry meeting I announced that after my last hospitalization I finally decided to follow my medical team's advice and apply for disability. In order to qualify for this insurance program, one must stop working immediately prior to the claim being approved. After talking with the bishop's office, the insurance company, my medical team, and after a long time in prayer, I applied for disability last Monday.

After that, things moved quickly. A diocesan staff member met with me last Wednesday; the insurance company told me on Thursday that I was to stop working immediately; and, then once again contacting the diocesan office, it was determined that yesterday, after the vestry meeting, I would no longer be the rector of Trinity Apalachicola. It is my intention to wait until this package is finally approved (which I believe may take a few weeks) and then vacate the rectory in June and hopefully move back to Baltimore. I couldn't believe that this would happen so fast. I did not announce this Sunday as I had to discuss it with the vestry first.

Rennie Edwards will be in charge and she will be working closely with the diocesan staff and Trinity's vestry to allow things here to go on as usual. I will be unavailable to you and you should contact Rennie who will, in turn and in her opinion, contact me.

First, I will state the obvious – I will miss you all. Believe me, that is not a trite generalization. We have done great minstry! Over the years, I have learned something valuable from each of you. Primarily, I learned what strong and effective lay leadership looks like. I have found a group of folks who not only love their church, but love the Lord and are passionate about Christ. I have a hard time learning that, like most persons suffering from my diagnosis, we tend to close people off when unwell instead of inviting them in. I want to thank you for your attempts to minister to me and care for me. I ask your prayers as we move forward.

I am leaving the church facilities, but I am taking your love and friendship with me. Eventually, after I am recovered, I would like to stay in touch with you, at least through the Bay View. It is not good for an old rector to interfere in the life of a parish when they call a new priest. I will miss you all. Again, I am deeply disturbed about the quickness of these decisions and actions, but due to insurance rules, it could not be helped. Everyone is concerned for my well being, including me, and this, I believe, is the correct decision for me and for Trinity Apalachicola.

Thank you for making our shared ministry a real pleasure and may
God bless you and those dear to you this day and forever. 

Worship Services on Sunday at 8 & 10:30 am, Eastern time

Church address: 79 6th Street, Apalachicola, Florida 32320
Office address: 76 5th Street, Apalachicola, Florida 32320
Mailing address: PO Box 667, Apalachicola, Florida 32329

Phone number: (850) 653-9550