Hard work ahead
Dear People of St. Timothy’s Church:
I very much “hit the ground running” when I arrived here two weeks ago to begin my year-long service as your interim rector: my first parish gathering was the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper (so excellently put on by our parish men’s group), followed the next day by four Ash Wednesday services. And then, of course, my first Sunday was the First Sunday in Lent.
It is all very appropriate, I think, because it is not too much of a stretch to see this season of Lent as a kind of paradigm for what you, as a parish, will be going through during my time with you. Both are hard work.
Lent begins with a last “party” on Shrove Tuesday, commences with a day of penitence on Ash Wednesday, continues for forty days with special emphasis on repentance, self-examination, prayer and preparedness, and concludes with a great celebration of Easter joy.
Compare that to the work you will do this coming year. You have already begun with a party, bidding a fond farewell to a fine priest who served you faithfully for a quarter of a century. Soon, your search committee for a new rector will be appointed, and they will begin their work by reflecting on your parish’s history—coming to grips with the past—and writing a profile of your parish that will describe who you are and reflect on what God may be calling you to do in the future. You will be involved in that process through a series of small group sessions and a parish questionnaire. You will also, of course, have an opportunity to suggest the names of priests whom you know and who you think would work well here in St. Timothy’s Church. And you will then celebrate with great joy when the announcement of your new rector is made.
It is my sincerest hope and most fervent prayer that you will ask God to inspire your hearts both during this Lenten season and during your parish search. Yes, both are hard work. And so, if the work sometimes seems too much and you begin to feel rattled because of it, remember that Holy Week that must always precede Easter Day. No battle can be won without struggle and sacrifice. And there can be no new life to live until the old life has died.
May God grant you all a holy Lent and a discerning search. Blessings always.
Fr. Doug Remer.