Friday, June 12, 2015

Taking Leave

Dear St. Paul's Family,

These past seven years have been an amazing grace-filled experience for Lori and myself. We have made Charlottesville our home and we love this parish and each of you. We have experienced many joys – and many trials – together. It is therefore with mixed emotions that I tell you of my intent to resign as your Rector and return to the Diocese of Northern California this summer.

I have been offered the position of “priest-in-charge” of the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa, a small city in Sonoma County north of San Francisco. My mother, who just turned 90, lives about an hour away, and most of my family is in the area. It has become abundantly clear in the last few months that my family needs us to return, and I could not ignore this invitation by the people of Santa Rosa to do so.

I realize that this decision may come as a surprise to some. I had intended to finish my ministry here at St. Paul’s and retire from this wonderful parish. But I am reminded once again that my timing might not be the Holy Spirit’s timing. I was not looking for a new position. However, a few weeks ago I was approached by the Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner, the bishop of the Diocese of Northern California, who asked me to consider this position. Barry has been one of my mentors for more than 20 years, long before he became a bishop. I was ordained in his diocese and served there as a lay leader and later as a priest for 18 years. After much prayer and conversation, I’ve accepted this offer.

My last Sunday at St. Paul’s will be July 19. Between now and then, I hope we can celebrate what we have done together. I will make myself available in the next few weeks to meet with anyone who feels the need to meet with me for whatever reason.

St. Paul’s is a very strong and vibrant parish, with a talented staff, gifted lay leadership, and outstanding clergy. Charles Lancaster, our senior warden, and Darren Ball, our junior warden, and all the members of the Vestry, will be working with the staff of the Diocese of Virginia in this transition. They will develop a plan to appoint an interim rector and form a search committee. This is a parish of people who know how to “be bold” and meet the future with grace and courage.

There is no way that I can thank you adequately enough for the opportunities you have given me these past seven years. We will cherish your love forever. Finally, please keep us, and all of the St. Paul’s family, in your prayers.



1 comment:

Nelliesgrampa said...

Jim and Lori, Blessings on this new adventure, and may your leave-taking from St. Paul's be full of grace and good humor, and your move "back home" be uneventful. Jim, will you have the opportunity of an Exit Interview?