Things do grow and change
Dear Members and Friends of Saint Timothy’s,
In my article of the September 2017 issue of The Tidings, I began by noting the inevitability of change. Little did I know when I was writing the article toward the end of September, that great change would be just around the corner. I looked back to the September issue and found, Change is inevitable. Being an advocate of change or disliking change is really not at issue. Things do grow and change. People grow and change. Situations, circumstances, and yes, the weather, all change and vary. Here we are with my resignation as your rector and answering a call to a new parish. That change, a huge change for me and my family, has come to visit. This time “change’s” visit is not temporary, but has come to stay and move in!
There are some steps that have been put in place and some plans already made to make it through this change. The canons (laws) of the church say that I am to report to the Bishop in writing that I’m leaving and I have done that. I reported in writing and had two helpful conversations with Bishop Rodman and his transition ministry officer. The canons also require me to resign to the Vestry. This was done last Thursday evening November second. My resignation is effective January 28, 2018. Our Wardens and Vestry are meeting with Bishop Rodman and Catherine Massey, the Transition Ministry Officer for the Diocese, Thursday evening, November ninth. At that meeting, the Vestry will be informed of the steps they need to hire an interim priest so a search can be conducted for your next Rector. Letters were sent by electronic mail Friday, November third to the parish and the school announcing my resignation and my intention to take up the call to a new parish. These electronic mailings will be followed-up by letters from me and the Wardens through regular mail. Cathy Elsea, our Senior Warden, announced my resignation at both services on All Saints’ Sunday.
Saint Timothy’s Church and Saint Timothy’s School are set to meet this change with grace, strength, and resolve. We have a talented, smart, caring and faithful Vestry leading the parish with two Wardens whose experience and insight place the parish in good hands. The Board of Trustees of the School also has members who make good decisions for the present and future welfare of the School. They work really well with our gifted Headmaster, Tim Tinnesz, so the governance, financial viability, long-range plans, facilities, and academic program of the School could not be in better hands. With the Vestry and Board of Trustees working together in a spirit of goodwill and genuine Christian care and concern, both institutions can come through this change even stronger. Our prayerful support will be for both the Church and the School.
There is never a perfect time to leave a parish. One thinks of so many things left undone. There are friendships that need a plan for how they can continue. There are pastoral needs of parishioners that need a plan for continued care and oversight. There are programs that cannot stagnate, but must continue to run and even flourish. Given all these important concerns, we’re bound to think, “There must be a better time and situation to have to go through a change in leadership”. The more we try to think of a better time to make a change, the more we realize that there is still no perfect time.
One of the immediate programs that could be affected by this change is our Stewardship Program. We are having our whole Saint Timothy’s Stewardship and Development weekend November tenth, eleventh, and twelfth. Rather than thinking this is terrible timing, given the resignation of the rector coming just before this important weekend, we could just as easily think that this could be one of Saint Timothy’s “finest hours”. As our Senior Warden said in her announcement of my resignation if there ever was a time when Saint Timothy’s needed to come together and support and celebrate Saint Timothy’s Church, it would be during our Stewardship Weekend. What a great work and witness it would be if our giving to the parish for 2018 becomes stronger than it ever has been. The parish would be put in a position of strength and health to meet the next year. We should be put in a position to have new programs that will minister to parishioners and meet many needs of our faithful. We can do this with strong participation and support all through the Stewardship and Development Weekend. Saint Timothy’s should become an even more attractive and vibrant parish, especially at a time when we are in between rectors.
We should make every effort to be present and participate in the events of Stewardship Weekend. On Friday evening November 10th at 6:30 we should bring our families to The Family Night Dinner. There will be a dinner of pizza, wings, and salad. I will be “dunked”, I’m sure a number of times in a dunking booth. Children will be able to make glow-in-the-dark tee shirts and play, in a monitored and organized way, with bubble balls, and there will be nursery care for children three and under. The parents will be able to work with our consultant, Peter Saros, on ways to develop the ministry here at Saint Timothy’s. On Saturday, November 11th at noon we will have a luncheon for seniors in the parish. They will be served a lunch of chicken alfredo in the parlor and be able to work with Mr. Saros on how Saint Timothy’s can better minister to them. That evening at six o’clock we are having a wine and cheese party with heavy hors-d’oeuvres for everyone who would like to attend and talk with Mr. Saros. All of us should pick one or some of these events and then make sure we attend the Sunday services on Sunday, November 12th. Mr. Saros will preach at both services. We will make our commitment to the parish for 2018 at both services and learn the results of our pledging even in the course of the services.
The parish we have come to love so much can be healthier and make a stronger witness for Jesus Christ even through the changes thrust upon us. What a powerful witness we make when we actually become stronger through adversity. This can happen when we participate and support our parish at the Stewardship Weekend. This makes it a privilege to live and work in a parish like Saint Timothy’s.
Yours faithfully, in Christ,
The Reverend Jay C. James