I am excited to share with you the news of two important additions to our staff, Alex Cavanaugh as Director of Youth Ministries and Anne Schmidt as Director of Evangelism and Welcoming Ministries. These calls come after many patient months of search and discernment, and they will help address two of our most significant leadership holes. Initially we were looking for one full-time person to fill a combined role in these areas, and instead found two wonderful people with unique gifts for youth ministry and evangelism to each serve in part-time roles.
Alex is the son of the Rev. Bill Cavanaugh, recently retired Rector of Church of the Epiphany in Richardson. In addition to having served at Epiphany in the past as a youth ministry volunteer, Alex has been heavily involved with Camp All Saints, including the past two summers on staff as head counselor, and for the past nine months he’s served as assistant youth minister at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Irving. He is currently finishing his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas, which he expects to complete in 2019.
Alex impressed Mother Rebecca and I by his enthusiasm for this ministry, his passion for forming disciples, and his balance between playfulness and maturity. He spent this past Sunday morning with several youth and parents, and it was easy to see how quickly he’ll form relationships with our middle and high school students. I am grateful for the time and effort given by the search committee (Louis Guion, Sophie Guion, Beth Kirner, Melinda Wedding, Sophia Roper, Nathan Jackson, and Bruce Posner), the members of our Youth Council (in addition to Roper and Guion, Jewel Allred, Ella Gray, and Meredith Smith), and numerous other parents and youth who joined in this work as we went along.
Alex will begin August 20, and he is ready to hit the ground running.
Anne’s hire as Director of Evangelism and Welcoming is equally exciting, though she is certainly not new to Transfiguration. She is a past Vestry member and Sr. Warden, she received the Tau Cross and Crown Award this past January, and she was part of the Rector Search Committee that called me four years ago. Over a year ago Anne was hired at St. Michael and All Angels to direct their newcomer ministries, and she is now ready to “come home” to strengthen our efforts to invite, welcome, and connect new people into the life of our church. The inclusion of “evangelism” in her job title is intentional, as one of Anne’s central goals will be to equip all our members to share the story of their relationship with our loving God in an invitational way. Anne shares my belief that a great many people in the metroplex are hungry for the sort of compassionate Christian witness we embody at Transfiguration, but they simply don’t know such a church exists. So, in addition to leading our welcoming ministry and helping us connect newcomers with meaningful forms of involvement and fellowship, Anne will seek to help all of us get more comfortable sharing with others about our experiences of God’s mercy and love at Transfiguration.
Anne will begin August 27, and she, too, is ready to hit the ground running.
I ask you to pray for Alex and Anne as they prepare to begin in these roles, for it will be by God’s grace that they flourish in their ministries. And I hope you’ll consider whether God may be calling you to help them, for both our youth program and welcoming ministry depend on the involvement of a great many volunteers.
The Rev. R. Casey Shobe, D.Min.