For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
This week, as I write this, I am chaperoning a week of Scout camp with my son, Isaiah’s, scout troop. Each day, as the scouts go off to take their various merit badge classes, I have been attending Principles of Outdoor Leadership and Assistant Scout Master trainings. In the afternoon, I am able to sit on a lawn chair in the forest, reading, working and contemplating.In the forest, I see things grow, decay, die, and new life being created all at once around me.I can vividly see that transition is a natural part of the rhythm of all life.
We all age, and enter new seasons of life, moving from children to young adults, to middle aged, to elders.We raise children and help and watch them grow. Eventually, hopefully, they move out and onto their own lives. We sometimes move, even at times great distances. Jobs change, families transition. People die. The longer I live, the more certain I become, that the only stability of human life is that things are constantly changing. Each year brings something new, and whenever there is something new, so often it is accompanied by a sense of loss as well.
As change is constant in our human families, change is a constant in community as well. Our community at St. Paul’s is flourishing and dynamic. In the last two years, we have grown by about a third, we have renewed our energy for outreach and for spiritual formation.We care for one another, as we also offer our radical welcome to all who we meet. We continue to be generous. We also form and help to raise up new leaders for the church and for the world.While this dynamic energy is a sign of promise, this too can be accompanied by a sense of loss.
Many of us may be feeling these rhythms this summer of transition at St Paul's as we say welcome to Laura DiPanfilo, our new Assistant Rector and we say congratulations and good bye to Garrett Yates. We also celebrate the promising new vocations for Paul Barker and Erin Morey, and we know we will see less of them as they transition into new roles.It can feel like a lot for a community to experience this all at once. I am sure, though, of one thing-- that in the midst of all of the transitions of this life, God’s eternal love and providence in constant. And the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a story of new life coming out of loss.That is the promise of our faith.
Working with our Vestry and other lay leadership, we are diligently working to ensure continuity and support in our flourishing ministries. This work is a two-prong approach – for the short term and for the long term. In the short term, we may bring in more volunteer support and extend the responsibilities of our existing team or bring in interim staff. For the long term, it will mean hiring some new staff. I prefer not to rush to make sure that we have properly imagined the scope of positions and do a thorough job in recruiting and hiring the right people to be part of the team that supports our shared community and ministry.
Your vestry and I would love to hear from you – either about ways you want to get involved at this time, or ideas you have around the staff needs we have right now to support our ministry.Please reach out to us – we are here for you.
The Reverend Noah H. Evans, Rector