The Feast of the Epiphany
January 6, 2019
Dear People of Saint Timothy’s Church:
Although the letter from the Rector is normally the lead article on the front page of our monthly newsletter, the letter from your new rector properly takes precedence this month, with this letter from me serving as a follow-up. The wonderful news of the vestry’s election of Fr. Allen Waller as your next rector was announced by the senior warden during church services this morning and was met with happy applause. For making that announcement possible, we are grateful, indeed, to the parish search committee, chaired and led by Carol Rippetoe, for their months of prayerful labor and spiritual discernment. For more information on Fr. Allen and his family, please see the Senior Warden’s letter which appears later in this edition of “Tidings.”
Fr. Waller and his family will make their move from England sometime later this month. During February, he will spend time with me being briefed on the kinds of duties he will undertake in the church and in the school. I hope this will include attendance at a vestry meeting, school board meeting, and staff meeting, as well as an introduction to the rhythm and routine of our life together in this place we call St. Timothy’s. This will be especially important inasmuch as Fr. Allen’s theological training and parish experience have both been in the Church of England; and, while the Episcopal Church is a member of the Anglican Communion and the Church of England is the glue that binds the Communion together, each is constituted and governed in very different ways.
Fr. Allen will officially begin as rector on March 1. Before then, I will continue to serve as your rector, as I have for the past ten months. There can only be one rector in a parish at any given time, so the certainty of when that hand-off of title and responsibilities occurs must be understood and respected by everyone.
Finally, and admittedly with the realization that I may be sounding like a broken record, allow me to say how important it is that you receive Fr. Allen with the kind of gracious good will that you have shown me. Fr. Allen is not Fr. Remer. Fr. Remer is not Fr. James. And Fr. James was not Fr. Hale. Fr. Allen is simply—and, as God’s unique creature and priest, wonderfully—Fr. Allen. He will bring to his work in St. Timothy’s an entirely new set of personal and priestly gifts, as well, perhaps, as new perspectives that will open to you new horizons of faith, hope, and love. Welcome those gifts, even as you welcome him.
On this Feast of the Epiphany, remember that Wise Men (and wise women!) will always follow that star that leads to Jesus. We clergy are neither the star nor the Christ. We are simply servants of Christ who are led by the same star as every other member of Christ’s Church, and who journey in our own personal lives, with our own priestly responsibilities, to worship and serve the same Jesus. May God bless Fr. Allen and all the people of St. Timothy’s Church and School as you journey together in the years ahead.