From the Rector
Finding New Leadership
I hope by now you’ve read the message that went out earlier this week, in which Shea Gilliland shared his decision to resign his orders in the Episcopal Church and convert to Roman Catholicism. In his letter, Shea shares about how he and Summer arrived at this decision after several years of intense discernment, and how it should not be taken as a reflection of his feelings about Transfiguration. I hope that, if you haven’t already, you read his words carefully, and also my corresponding reflections.
Already this week I have been amazed by the response to this news, as a great many of you have chosen grace over bitterness, and therefore have reached out to Shea and Summer with tenderness and gratitude. It is a sure sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit, for it shows how we recognize our unity in Christ and enact Christ’s prayer that we be one as he and the Father are one (John 17:10-23; a part of which we’ll hear in our worship this weekend). I am convinced that our willingness to embody love, especially in situations that are hard or perplex us, is how we make our greatest mark on the world. Friends, it is not only the Gilliland family who is blessed by your love; the world takes notice when Christians actually live like the one for whom we take our name.
Shea’s departure creates a few gaps in our staff, and I take them seriously. He led our welcoming ministries, facilitated our young adult ministry, and worked closely with Deacon Ginny Kivel to guide our pastoral care. That final piece is one that we will most quickly be able to address, as I have called the Rev. Nancy DeStefano to serve as part-time Pastoral Assistant. Pastor Nancy is known to many of you, as she and her husband, Ed, have been attending for a few years, and she has helped lead our Second Half group. As Pastoral Assistant, Pastor Nancy will become the formal staff guide for Second Half, be available for personal pastoral counseling, and assist us in caring for everyone in our community. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding new leadership for our welcoming ministry may take a bit longer. I’ve been searching for a new Director of Youth and Welcoming Ministries for several months, but so far have not yet found the right candidate. I hope you will share the position description with anyone you know who may be a qualified candidate, and I ask your prayers for guidance and discernment as we seek new leaders to join the team. Thriving youth and welcoming ministries are fundamental to our health and vitality as a church, and that depends on great leadership.
In the meantime, I am grateful for Bill Edwards, who is the volunteer leader of our welcoming ministry, and for Pastor Nancy, who will provide staff support. And I’m also thankful for all our many youth ministry volunteers, as well as the interim leadership of Mother Alina and Pastor Jared Williams, who will step down at the end of the month. Next Sunday, May 20, we will recognize many of our amazing volunteers, and I hope you’ll help me express proper gratitude for what these folks do here.
Oh, and of course, let us all remember to show gratitude to those who have been mothers to us! It is not only the women who gave birth to us who show us the love and care of motherhood, so I hope you’ll think through your life and pray for all those who have been like a mother to you!
See you this weekend.