From the Rector: Send Us Out

In the Book of Common Prayer 1979 there are two options for the post-communion prayer. The second option concludes with a petition asking God to “send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” That petition is a reminder that the vast majority of God’s work goes on outside the walls of the church building the other 166 hours a week!
 
On Tuesday afternoon I attended the retirement reception of one of our parishioners, Dr. Philip Ballinger. Philip, husband of our former deacon, Kathryn, is Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of Washington and is retiring this month after over 30 years of service in university admissions and enrollment. At the reception, speaker after speaker spoke about Philip’s integrity and collegial spirit. What struck me most was the work he has done to increase fair and equitable access to higher education. During his time at UW, the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body at UW has grown dramatically. In reality, Philip has been doing God’s work—Kingdom work—in his career in higher education. It was evident, too, that the Christ-like way in which he approached his job has made a lasting impact on his colleagues at UW and literally around the world.*
 
Philip, of course, is not the only lay person in our parish doing ministry through their vocations. Week after week I hear stories about how people in our parish are living out their faith and making a difference in the world. Teachers who bring the values of our Baptismal Covenant into the classroom, managers who treat their teams with fairness and respect, parents who seek to instill Christian values in their children, volunteers who work with and lead in community service organizations, parishioners who are kind to their neighbors—this is what it means to be the Church sent out to do the work God has given us to do. Not just on Tuesday at the retirement reception, but almost every Sunday I hear what you are doing to make God’s love known in your everyday life. Your stories and your commitment to follow Christ throughout the week wherever you are inspires me!
 
At our vestry retreat last weekend, your vestry chose three ministry priorities for the year: 1) marketing and evangelism, 2) youth and families, and 3) what I will call, for now, “missio,” the Latin word for “to send.” We decided on these priorities after doing discernment around our call as a Christian community to “gather, transform, and send.” The send, or missio, priority arose as we asked ourselves how we were doing as a parish in preparing and inspiring one another to leave our corporate worship experiences to do God’s work in our family life, work life, social and civic life, and, yes, even in our parish life. You’ll be hearing more about these three priority areas of the vestry soon. Suffice it to say here that your vestry, Rector, and the Faith in Action Commission will give even more intentionality to how we can lead, guide, and support one another as we are sent into the world to do the work God has given us to do!
 
Excitedly,
Fr. Steve+
 
*Philip will be our guest speaker at the Seasoned Saints luncheon on March 9, at 12 noon, here at the church.  He’ll share more about his training as a Jesuit priest, his career in higher education, and the new project he’s working on with UW.

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From the Rector: Church Policies for Inclement Weather

Dear all,
 
It snowed on Thursday, January 9, which brings back vivid memories of last year’s Snowmeggedon. In response to that chaos, we formulated an inclement weather policy, and since more inclement weather is expected in the next few days, here just a few reminders:
  1. The church office and the preschool follows the Lake Washington School District closure protocol. If the school district declares schools closed, we are closed. If they are open, we are open. If there’s an early closure, we observe that too.
  2. If inclement weather is expected on a Sunday, I will consult with the wardens as to whether we cancel services. We will usually make the decision by 6 pm on Saturday. At that point I will notify the staff, and we will send a parish-wide email. We will also put a pop-up on our website, and send a text from MyGoodSam to those who have signed up for that service.
  3. If a significant weather event takes place overnight on a Saturday, we’ll make any decision and get information out by 6 am that Sunday.
  4. The staff and the Facilities team will do their best to keep an eye on the driveway, sidewalks, and porch area for snow and get a plow if possible.
As always, weather conditions may be different at the church than where you live. Don’t go out if road conditions in your area are treacherous.
 
Let me know if you have questions or concerns.
 
—Fr. Steve+

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A Note from Your Wardens

by Lorene Ehlers and Rick Tidball
 
We are thrilled to announce that Good Samaritan Episcopal Church and Father Steve received a Lilly Endowment Grant to support Father Steve’s sabbatical in 2020 and support Good Samaritan during his time away.
 
When Father Steve joined us in 2015, his contract included a three-month sabbatical after five years of service, which is a typical benefit offered to experienced clergy in the Episcopal Church. Earlier this year, Father Steve communicated to the Vestry his desire to take a sabbatical in June of 2020. He also communicated his intention to apply for a National Clergy Renewal Grant funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Lilly Grants are very competitive and require a lengthy and detailed application process.
 
Father Steve worked with your wardens and other church leaders to prepare a $37,000 proposal to cover his travel expenses along with costs incurred by Good Samaritan during his leave. Late this summer, we were notified that Good Samaritan’s application was selected for one of 150 grants awarded across the entire United States.
 
Clergy are awarded Lilly Grants to use time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering clergy a carefully considered respite that includes travel, study, rest, prayer, immersive arts, and cultural experiences.
 
As he wrote in his Grant application, Father Steve’s sabbatical time will consist of three components: 1) experiencing pilgrimage to Christian holy sites; 2) reflection, study, and writing on the role of pilgrimage in Christian formation from an Anglican perspective; and, 3) time for personal rest and renewal.
 
Father Steve will start his sabbatical in June, and begin by traveling to Chartres, France. There he will walk the labrynth at Chartes Cathedral. He will then travel to St. Jean Pied de Port to begin a 35-day walk on the French Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. After completing his 500-mile walk, he will join David for two weeks where they will explore the Algarve region of Portugal and southern Spain. In late July, Father Steve will return to Santiago de Compostela to serve as the priest-in-charge at the Anglican Chaplaincy where he will greet pilgrims, serve as a host at the Ecumenical Center, and lead Sunday and Wednesday worship services. He will return to the United States in mid-August and spend the remaining weeks exploring the San Juan Islands with his son and David. Father Steve will return to Good Samaritan in September 2020.
 
We are very proud of Father Steve for receiving this award and excited for him and his upcoming sabbatical. We are also grateful for his care in preparing us to experience our own journey during his absence.
 
Congratulations, Father Steve!
 
Lorene Ehlers and Rick Tidball

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From the Rector: On Being Community

By now most of you are aware of the tragic deaths this past weekend of two students at Skyline High School. The deaths were due to accidental drug overdoses of fentanyl, an opioid that has caused thousands of death in our country. It’s almost instinctive to immediately react to such news with disbelief, shock, anger, and deep sadness, and often we look for someone or something to blame. But as the shock wears off and we are able to sift through emotions, it is possible to gain clarity. We have a problem in our community that will only be addressed when we admit there is a problem and come together to address it. To use “churchy” language, it’s confession and repentance. For many of us those two words carry a negative connotation, but the reality is that both are gifts given to us so that we can identify those things holding us back from the fullness of life Jesus promised and begin to make choices that are life-giving. This work, however, cannot be done alone. Do you notice that in our church we begin the confession with “we”: WE confess that WE have sinned. The hard but life-giving work of facing a problem and dealing with it is not done in isolation; we do it together as Beloved Community in a variety of ways.

Over the past few days, I’ve watched our community come together to mourn, pray, and support one another, especially our students. I think we’ve been shaken, too, by these deaths and am hopeful that there is a willingness to look the problem in the eye, name it, and work to address it. Many have asked me “what can I (we) do?” Together, and with God’s help and our commitment to address a very real problem in our community, we can take action that will make a difference. You will be hearing more about how our city leaders, school officials, law enforcement agencies, and faith groups are responding in the coming days. In the meantime, I offer the following of things all of us can do right now:

  • Pray. Pray for our students, parents, teachers, school officials, and community leaders. Pray for the students who have died, for their families and friends, and for those who seek to comfort and support them. Pray for those who struggle with addiction. The Book of Common Prayer offers us this prayer for pray for the victims of addiction:
    “O Blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you: Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.”
  • See. Acknowledge and get to know the children and youth in our parish. Let them know that they are visible, that we see them, welcome them, and support them. Just a simple “hello” or “that’s a pretty dress” or “what grade are you in” speaks volumes and will make a difference in the lives of our youth. I daresay most of us who are older can point to moments and persons in our lives who just simply acknowledged us or encouraged us in some way that made a huge impact. Do it this Sunday; let our youth and children know that they are an important part of our community.
  • Get informed. Know what’s going on our community, in our schools. It effects all of us. Did you know that two of our parishioners, Joyce Bottenberg and Tom Ehlers, serve on the City of Sammamish’s Health and Human Services Commission? Talk with them; they have their ears to the ground and can help gain a wider and deeper perspective on the issues.
  • Show up. On Wednesday, October 16, at 7 pm, a community-wide discussion will take place at Skyline High School. All are welcome, and I encourage your attendance. Just showing up makes a statement that we care and want to be a part of the solution.
  • Stay tuned. Our Faith in Action Commission is working with other faith leaders and the Sammamish YMCA to start a mentoring program for youth. Tom Ehlers and I have been part of this initiative. You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming months, and if you’d like to be a part of exploratory group, please speak to Tom or me.

Wherever you are or whatever you are doing when you read this, please join me in this prayer:

Gracious God, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in your, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (BCP, p. 829).

Hopefully,

—Fr. Steve+


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Deacon Kathryn’s Retirement

Kathryn Ballinger is retiring as a deacon and will be taking a break from ministry this fall! We are so grateful for her service to this parish and The Episcopal Church, and we will be showing our appreciation at a special reception THIS SUNDAY after the second service. Deacon Kathryn and Philip will return to worship at Good Samaritan as a regular members in December.

Deacon Kathryn’s Ministry

Born and raised in Seattle, Kathryn attended Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane and Gonzaga University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree. After her first husband’s death, she completed a Masters in Counseling from Whitworth University, and was a RN for over 40 years. She is also a trained spiritual director with more than 35 years experience. Dcn. Kathryn was ordained a permanent deacon in 2000 in the Diocese of Spokane, and served in two parishes there before moving with her husband, Philip, to the Seattle area in 2003. She served as deacon at St. Thomas in Medina for 13 years. Kathryn was placed at Good Samaritan by Bishop Rickel in December 2016.


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Staff Transitions

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
As often quoted, “change is the only constant in life.” That is an actual quote from the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. That is certainly true in our personal lives, and no less true in the life of a parish. This summer will mark several staff changes, in addition to the end of Fr. Brian’s curacy program and departure for Guatemala.
 
First, our deacon, The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger, has announced her retirement from active ministry effective September 15, 2019. She will become a deacon emeritus (once ordained a deacon, always a deacon!) at that point, take a short leave from the parish, and be back with her husband, Philip, as members of the parish on the First Sunday of Advent. For those of you who are new to the Episcopal Church, active ordained clergy are not members of the local parish as they serve under the direct authority of the Bishop. Both she and I will have more to say to you in the coming days about her retirement and many years of ordained ministry. Please note that we will honor and celebrate her at a special liturgy during the 10:30 am Eucharist on September 15 and, of course, have a party! I know you will join me and the parishes she has served over the years in addition ours, to thank her for her faithful service and bless her diaconal ministry as it takes on a new shape.
 
Second, India Andrews-Shank, our lead child care provider, will be leaving her post this Sunday, August 25. India, who was baptized at Good Sam last year and taught in our preschool, has taken on a full-time job and with her other responsibilities will not be able to continue to serve on Sunday mornings. She, however, will continue to worship and serve here at Good Sam in other ways. Our children and parents love India, and this Sunday we will honor her at the 10:30 am service. (Shhhhh! Don’t tell her!)
 
Joining our childcare staff is Azar Mirhadi, who will serve as the lead. If you haven’t met her, please introduce yourself and welcome her. Note, too, that we are looking for another person to serve on the Sunday morning childcare staff.
 
Finally, I am very pleased to announce that the Rev. Christina Jillard will be joining our staff part-time on September 1 as Priest Associate. Chris, as she prefers to be called, recently retired as Rector of St. Margaret’s, Bellevue. From 2001–2018, she was the Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal in Altoona, Pennsylvania, after graduating from General Theological Seminary in New York City and being ordained a priest in 2001. Chris also serves as a trainer in our diocese’s College of Congregational Development and Chair of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia’s Board of Directors. She and her husband, Rick, have two dogs and live in the Renton Highlands area. They have four children—Bronwen, Kate, Andy and Eric—who are literally scattered from “sea to shining sea!”
 
Chris will join me in preaching, teaching, and celebrating the Sacraments, and assist and lead in other ministries as assigned. Chris is a gifted preacher, a wise leader, and experienced priest. God willing, she will serve as priest-in-charge while I am away on sabbatical next summer. While Chris will not have direct responsibility for providing clergy leadership to our children’s, youth, and family ministries, she will serve with me as a resource and clergy support to our lay leaders in these areas. In the meantime, the search for a youth and family minister or curate will continue with the hope that we will have one or the other in place by next May. I will keep you updated, and if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any member of the vestry.
 
Blessings, Fr. Steve+

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Saying Goodbye to the Gregorys

This Sunday, August 4, we will say goodbye to the Gregorys as they leave ministry in our parish to serve the people of Guatemala in Christ’s name. At the 9:30 am service, Fr. Brian will preach and celebrate, and I’ll lead us in a liturgy to acknowledge the end of Fr. Brian’s pastoral relationship with Good Samaritan and to commission the Gregorys to serve as missionaries to Guatemala. You are invited to write a note of encouragement and appreciation and place it in the large basket in the Narthex on Sunday, along with a financial gift or pledge to their mission, if you have not done so already. Notecards and envelopes will be provided just in case you forgot! A BBQ will ensue after the service, and you can go here to RSVP or here to sign up to bring food.
 
It really will be an emotionally mixed day for our parish and for me. Fr. Brian came to us as a freshly ordained Deacon in July 2017, and was placed in our parish as a Curate. (A Curate serves for two years in a parish setting as a priest-in-training, in case you are unfamiliar with the ordination process of the Episcopal Church.) We had the great privilege of hosting his ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests in February 2018. Fr. Brian has given a great deal of attention to our children and youth ministries, played a major role in our identity/vision/mission work, vastly improved our communication and online presence, led the youth mission trip last summer to Mt. Vernon, led us to establish relationships with La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección and Primm Tabernacle AME Church, in addition to preaching, celebrating, pastoring, and doing the work of priest. I believe his ministry among us will have a lasting impact on our parish. His family has become dear to us, as well. Kelly initiated and led our women’s ministry, and we have been so blessed to watch Ellsley and Westin grow two years older and be a part of their formative years.
 
I have had the privilege of watching Fr. Brian grow in and embrace his calling to be a priest in the Episcopal Church. He has been a trusted colleague, adviser, and fellow presbyter. His love for our Lord and the Church has been a constant source of encouragement. I am grateful that God brought him to our parish. I am thankful, too, that the work we have done is not ended, but all part of the larger work we all do together for sake of the Kingdom of God. God will take the good work we have done together—Brian’s, yours, and mine—and multiply it in ways that we can never imagine this side of heaven.
 
Some of you have asked for some more specific information about the money we are raising to support the Gregory’s mission to Guatemala. The Gregory’s need $53,000 to pay for their living expenses while in Guatemala. This includes airfare to Guatemala, housing, transportation, food, medical insurance, pension contribution, repatriation, and any other expenses needed to support a family of four for a year. To date, approximately $43,000 has been raised in gifts or pledges, about $13,000 of that amount coming from our parish. Another $10,000 is needed to reach the goal, and I believe that goal will be reached before the Gregory’s leave for Guatemala. Your monetary gifts of support will be housed and administered by Good Samaritan, so whatever you give is tax deductible. You can write a check to Good Samaritan with “Guatemala Fund” in the memo line, or visit the Gregorys’ website to find out how to give online.
 
I ask for your generous support of their mission to Guatemala, and, more importantly, for your prayers as they leave us to serve the Lord in a different place.
 
With gratitude,
Fr. Steve+

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Faith in Action: New Focus Areas of Service

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
About a year ago, Fr. Steve called for the formation of the Faith in Action Commission. Our vestry endorsed this action, and several members of the parish began meeting to read, pray, and discern together how God might be calling us to strengthen and expand our outreach ministries. We discovered in our journey that many in our parish were passionate about the work we were doing, which has consisted of Issaquah Meals and the occasional seasonal project, and many were already involved in ministries not sponsored by our parish. We also came to understand that, as followers of Jesus, our call to serve goes beyond “doing for” to include also “being with.” In other words, the relational aspect of outreach is just as important than the actual action itself, if not more so.
 
In our discernment and planning, we realized very early on that we as a parish cannot do everything. We also came to understand that many in our parish are putting their faith into action everyday by participating in community service organizations, serving on the boards of non-profits, or participating in outreach ministries outside of the parish. Thus after months of discernment and discussion, the Faith in Action Commission has identified four new focus areas of service and outreach.
 

FAITH IN ACTION NEW AREAS OF SERVICE

 
THE GOOD SAMARITAN PRESCHOOL
Team Leader: Steve Foster
Our weekday preschool serves over 70 children and 60+ families. Most of the families served do not attend worship services at Good Samaritan, but we believe there exists a great opportunity to serve and engage with the children and parents of our preschool. Opportunities for engagement with the school include Blessing of the Preschool Staff and Students on September 8, Trunk or Treat in October, Carols and Cookies in December, and help with leading preschool chapel. Other possibilities include a multi-cultural fair, back to school breakfast, and a field day, all sponsored by the parish.
 
MENTAL WELLNESS
Team Leader: Tom Ehlers
The Human Services Commission of the City of Sammamish recently conducted a study in which anxiety and depression have been identified as a major health issues in our community. The FIA Commission wants to offer mental wellness resources and support to our parish and the surrounding community. This group is exploring a partnership with the local YMCA and other faith communities in Sammamish to launch a mentoring program for high school students. We also hope to offer an event series or forums dealing with stress for pre-teens, teens, and parents. The group is also working with our Communications Director to set up a page of resources on our website.
 
BECOMING BELOVED COMMUNITY WITH LA IGLESIA EPISCOPAL DE LA RESURRECCION IN MT. VERNON
Team Leaders: Terry Foster and Julio Richburg; Assistant Leader, Abby Pommer
We believe it is the work of the Church to engage in the work of reconciliation and build bridges between different races and cultures. La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección in Mt. Vernon serves a predominantly Hispanic and migrant worker congregation in the Skagit Valley. By worshiping together, participating in cultural events, and listening to their stories, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of how we can build a sustainable relationship and serve the people of the Skagit Valley together. Opportunities to participate will include a Sunday visit to Resurrección for worship in the fall, participating in their celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadelupe on December 12, and exploring how to support the day camp their parish operates during the summer for the children of migrant workers.
 
MISSION TO GUATEMALA
Team Leader: Terry Foster, assisted by Julio Richburg and Abby Pommer
Every Sunday we affirm that we belong to the Universal Church and the Communion of Saints, which means essentially that we here at Good Samaritan are part of what God is doing all over our world. We believe that global awareness broadens our horizons, opens our minds, and, in this particular case, helps us better understand the conditions and policies that have led so many to flee their countries and seek asylum in the United States. This group is planning a mission trip to Guatemala, possibly in the spring of 2020, to serve with Safe Passage and Fr. Brian in Guatemala City. An informational meeting is being planned for November.
 
These four areas of service were chosen not because there aren’t other equally valuable outreach opportunities, but because of existing relationships that could be strengthened or built upon. These focus areas also allow us the opportunity to best leverage our resources to match needs in our own parish and the community.
 
Please note that our monthly meal program, Issaquah Meals will continue on the second Saturday afternoon of each month. Steve Angelo can be contacted about participation in this ministry. We need additional cooks, food transporters (taking the food from the church to Issaquah Community Center), and food servers. Set up and clean up volunteers are always welcome.
 

STAY TUNED

You’ll be hearing more in the coming days and weeks about these proposed projects and relationships. There will be meetings scheduled for those interested in participating or gathering more information, and opportunities to sign up for projects will begin in August. All of these projects involve action items, but they are centered round the building of relationships with folks outside our parish and between parishioners.
 
Please ask questions and give us your input and feedback. Feel free to contact the team leaders of each of these projects or Fr. Steve. Watch for details about an information and feedback meeting to come soon!
 
Yours in mission and service,
 
The Faith in Action Commission
Megan Anderson, Tom Ehlers, Terry and Steve Foster, Julio Richburg, Abby Pommer, and Fr. Steve

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Gregory Garage Sale

We’re having a garage sale to support the Gregorys in Guatemala!

Shop on July 12 & 13, from 8 am–3 pm

As you recently learned, Fr. Brian, Kelly, Ellsley and Westin Gregory have been called to missionary work in Guatemala with the Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala and an organization called Safe Passage, which works in the community around the Guatemala City garbage dump, providing hope, education, and opportunity for children and families living in extreme poverty. Good Samaritan has pledged to financially support the Gregory family during this mission.
 
As part of our support, we are hosting a garage sale in the sanctuary from which ALL proceeds will go directly to the Gregorys.

Get Involved!

There are three ways you can get involved in our Garage Sale: donate items, sign up for a volunteer shift, and come shop!
 
DONATE
Beginning on July 7, we will accept donations of clothing, household items, furniture, art, music, books, and the like for resale. We cannot accept donations before July 7 at noon.
  • Sunday, July 7 from 12–2 pm
  • Monday–Thursday, July 8–11 from 10 am–2 pm
 
Items we will NOT accept
  • Electronics
  • Paint or cleaning supplies
  • TVs
  • Smelly or Broken Items
  • Car seats
 
All items donated to the sale that are not sold, are passed on to other great organizations like the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.
 
If you would like to provide ongoing prayer or financial support for the Gregorys in Guatemala, visit gregorysinguate.com for more information.
 
 
VOLUNTEER
During the sale, we have many volunteers who help with all the work of the sale; hauling, setting up, working at the sale, tearing down and packing up the leftovers. It is a great time of fellowship for all who get involved.
  • Sunday, July 7 from 12-2 pm (Set up for the event—heavy lifting required)
  • July 12 & 13 from 7:30 am–4 pm (monitoring sale and accepting money)
  • ***Saturday, July 13 from 3–5 pm (Clean up after the event—heavy lifting required) We especially need Saturday volunteers!
 
MyGoodSam login will be required to sign up.
 
SHOP
Invite your friends and neighbors to check out all the beautiful items to sell!
  • Friday, July 12 from 8 am–4 pm
  • Saturday, July 13 from 8 am–3 pm

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Note from the Rector: Fr. Brian Is Moving On

Since the first of the calendar year so much of what we’ve done in our preaching, formation, planning, and conversation has been centered around the theme Journey with Jesus. Last week, The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers touched on this theme in her talk on “Becoming Beloved Community” and expanded our vocabulary to include thinking about this journey in terms of a labyrinth. A labyrinth, you know, has a beginning point and a destination, but the way is never linear! There are twists and turns, and often the way forward is surprising. As I reflect on my four years (as of June 15) as your Rector, I remember the twists and turns and many surprises we have encountered in our journey together. We have done good work, and I am grateful and hopeful for our future as a parish.

One of the surprises in our journey together occurred two years ago, when Fr. Brian Gregory came to serve as Curate. (For those who don’t know, in our tradition, a Curate serves for two years as a priest-in-training.) Not only did he bring years of expertise in youth ministry, but his beautiful family, as well. Kelly, Ellsley, and Westin have become dear to us all, and made their own mark on the life of this parish. Another surprise was that we had the honor and privilege of hosting his ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests. He has done good ministry here among us over the past two years. He has been a particular blessing to me as a trusted colleague and friend.

Most of you are aware that Fr. Brian and Kelly have been in discernment for quite some time about the possibility of serving the Lord in Guatemala. Last Sunday I announced that Fr. Brian and his family have come to a decision; they will be leaving the States in mid-August to serve at least one year in Guatemala. I will leave it to Fr. Brian and Kelly to give you the details of what they’ll be doing—as a start, you can read Fr. Brian’s letter to the congregation here.

Fr. Brian’s last Sunday with us will be August 4. He will preach and celebrate at both services that day, and the vestry is planning a celebration to express our gratitude. I will lead us in a brief commissioning service that day, and we will send them on their way with our thanks and blessings. Stay tuned for more details. I will also be making an announcement soon about how we can continue to support Fr. Brian in the work to which God is calling him.

In the meantime, the vestry leadership and I will be in prayer and discernment about staff leadership for our children, youth and family ministries. As I stated on Sunday, the vestry and I are fully committed to reaching and serving families with children and youth, which makes up the vast majority of our community demographic. I will keep you updated as we move along in this process.

Please keep Fr. Brian and his family in your prayers as they prepare to move to Guatemala, and for our parish as we continue on our journey to become the Beloved Community that God desires for us!

Blessings, Fr. Steve+


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