Dear Friend of The Falls Church Episcopal,
I only ran two seasons of track -- my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college. I was never very fast, and certainly never anything close to a track star.
But one “life lesson” truth of running in a relay race has stuck with me, and that’s this:
The ideal time for a runner who is finishing one leg of a relay race to hand off the baton to the next runner is when he or she is at, or near, full speed.
I’ll leave it to others to judge if I am at, or already past “full speed” in my Rectorship here at The Falls Church Episcopal, but I have discerned that the time has come for me to hand off leadership to your next leader, whomever he or she may be, and respond positively to a call to a new and different race myself.
And so I write to you today to announce that I have accepted a call to become the Interim Dean of The Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville, North Carolina. My last day here as your Rector will be November 1st. Our last Sunday together will be Sunday, October 27th, and my first Sunday at All Souls Cathedral will be in mid-November, after Mary and I move to Asheville.
This letter is not goodbye, but it does start the last chapter of our ministry together, which is one of teaching each other how to say a “good goodbye.”
With the guidance of the Diocese of Virginia, and under the leadership of your wardens and vestry, we will spend our last five weeks together celebrating what we have, by the Grace of God, accomplished together since 2012. We’ll make a point to grieve and give thanks together.
I love this faith community: I love our staff, I love your vestry and other lay leadership; I love you.
I believe that by the Grace of God, three seemingly contradictory things can be true at the same time: One, that I was exactly the right person to be the Rector of The Falls Church Episcopal in the 2012 to 2019 time frame; Two, that God is now calling me to a new and different ministry with and among the people of All Souls, and Three, that God is already stirring up a sense of call in a gifted priest -- exactly the right person -- to be your next Rector of The Falls Church Episcopal.
Again, this is not the last you’ll be hearing from me, or about this transition! There will be more later -- beginning tomorrow (Friday) with a written communication from your wardens. We’ll begin Sunday morning’s Adult Forum with a Q&A session with me, Rev. Kelly, and the wardens. And in November and onward, you’ll hear more from the gifted and faithful folks at the Diocese who are charged with steering congregations through transitions.
But for now, please know that this decision has been arrived at through prayer, and is a step taken in faith: faith in you, faith in your leadership, and most of all, faith in the Living Son of the Living God: Jesus, the Christ, alive and active in the world today.
You’ve heard me say it many, many times, and you’ll hear me say it more, every chance I get: “Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)