Dear People of Saint Timothy’s Church:
I write this to you on Holy Saturday, my Easter preparation now concluded, as I—along with all of you on this day, I should imagine—await the time tomorrow morning when we will celebrate new life through the Good News of Jesus on the his Resurrection day. Easter always brings with it that promise of new life, new life that can take many forms, both in our individual lives and in the lives of the communities to which we belong and in which we live.
And what is true in general is particularly true in our life here in Saint Timothy’s Church. I have been totally, completely, thoroughly—even outlandishly!—impressed (did I use a sufficient number of adverbs here to make my point?) in the eagerness of our parish to begin new work on many fronts; and the yearning for increased lay participation in all forms of ministry is equally apparent. Within that context, I am happy now to update you on a number of new and expanded ministry matters that are of especial importance in our parish life.
First, it is with great delight that I announce the appointment of Dr. Vincent Kopp as Assistant to the Rector and Chaplain to the School, effective June 15, 2018. Coming after many years of hoping for such a position to be filled, this is a joint appointment, to be funded both by the parish and the school, and is made with the blessing of the Bishop; the Wardens, Cathy Elsea and Ed Watson; and our Head of School, Tim Tinnesz. In some ways, the appointment is of even greater surprise because Dr. Kopp is not a young person right out of seminary, but, rather, a seasoned pediatrician and pediatric anesthesiologist who is just several years younger than I am. A husband, father, and grandfather, he will be ordained a deacon in June and a priest six or so months later. Dr. Kopp’s love of children and his deep pastoral sense will be an ideal match for our needs here in Saint Timothy’s: as our school chaplain, he will lead chapel services and teach Divinity classes, which are now few in number, but which we intend to expand to a much fuller complement in the years ahead; and, as our parish assistant, he will have special responsibility for pastoral care, an area of parish ministry which oftentimes falls through the cracks when a rector leaves and before a new rector arrives. More about Dr. Kopp at another time.
I am also pleased that the response to our initiative to admit younger children to communion has been met with such positive response from so many of our parents. After meeting with me in several weeks, those parents will begin preparing their children to receive the Sacrament, thereby honoring the commitment they made at their children’s baptism to rear them in the Christian faith and life. With baptism now recognized as full Christian initiation, confirmation, or being “ready and desirous” thereof, has not been a prerequisite for receiving communion for the past several decades.
Finally—for this newsletter, but not as the end of an exhaustive list—we will begin, again in the near future, to ask the bishop to license some of our laypeople as Eucharistic Visitors to take the Sacrament to the sick and homebound immediately following celebrations of the Eucharist on Sunday mornings. Concomitant with that new initiative, we will change the present title of those laypersons who assist with the Chalice on Sunday mornings from “Lay Readers” to “Eucharistic Ministers.” These are now the names of those ministries in the present canons of the Church. “Lectors”—those who read the lessons during public worship—do not need to be licensed.
On a concluding note, allow me to say how great a privilege and joy it is for me to serve as your Interim Rector. But my joy would be nowhere near as great as it has, were it not for the fine vestry and fine staff with which I do my work. To them and to all of you, Easter blessings always!