On Sunday, we celebrated the feast of Pentecost – the day that we recall the gift of the Holy Spirit descending onto the disciples and sending them out into the world to serve.It’s that same Holy Spirit that we all receive in our Baptism, and sends us out into the world to serve God in new ways. I have come to believe deeply that a sign of a vital and healthy church is how it lifts up, forms, and empowers people to grow in the Spirit and leadership.This certainly strengthens the life of that parish. And, at times, it also means helping to form and empower leaders who are then sent out to serve the greater church.Today, I am writing to share with you that three members of our parish staff this summer are transitioning out of their positions as they grow in their leadership for the greater church.
First, the Reverend Garrett Yates has accepted a call to serve as the Rector of St. Anne’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Lincoln, Massachusetts. I am thrilled for Garrett and Katie and for St. Anne’s! As many of you know, I served as the Assistant and then the Associate Rector of St. Anne’s, Lincoln from 2004-2008. The parish contacted me a number of months ago to ask if I knew anyone who would be a good fit, and after I read their parish profile, I reluctantly realized I knew the perfect person.I recommended Garrett for this position. In the nearly four years he has been at St. Paul’s, we have seen Garrett continue to grow in leadership, and I believe he is ready for this amazing opportunity to serve in new ways. Though this is a sad day for us – it is truly a sign of the Holy Spirit doing amazing work at St. Paul’s to form, mentor, and raise up empowering leaders for the church. A note from Garrett follows below.His last Sunday at St. Paul’s will be Sunday, July 21st. Please watch for ways to say goodbye to Garrett and Katie over the next few weeks.
Second, Erin Morey, who served three-quarter time as our Director of Communications and Community Engagement, has been accepted as a full-time Master of Divinity student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Erin has also begun the discernment process, sponsored by St. Paul’s, for ordination to the Priesthood in the Episcopal Church. Later this summer, she will conclude her staff position here. She remains a member of our parish, and will serve as a paid contractor for some communications-related items, including editing liturgical bulletins.
The third, Paul Barker, who has served as our Director of Youth Ministry at St. Paul’s, and who is also a Postulant for the Diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, has discerned with our Bishop that he needs to take a break from youth ministry and do an internship with another church in the Diocese, as is common with those who are preparing for ordination. He will conclude his paid work here at St. Paul’s late this summer. He remains a member of this parish in this last period of time before his ordination.
I am aware that this is a large amount of staff transition all at once. And, I have come to believe that God is always inviting us to give away all that has been entrusted to us. This is true for each of us as individuals and for the parish as a whole.In doing so, we are joining in on the work of the Holy Spirit!
Your Vestry and I are working to develop a staffing plan for both the short and long term to help serve our growing parish. To help meet some needs, our Parish Administrator, Ariel Wicker is moving from three-quarter time to full-time on June 23. She has a background in communications and will assume many of the tasks performed by Erin. At the end of the summer, Kristen Morgan will move from half-time to three-quarter time to support our rapidly growing children’s programs, and in the interim will coordinate our renewed Middle School and Confirmation programs. We are excited that the Reverend Laura Di Panfilo will be joining us in a couple of weeks. She will coordinate our parish pastoral care and join with me in the sacramental leadership of the parish. We also have two fantastic retired priests who will work with Laura to cover my vacation in early August.
Our Vestry and other lay leaders here in the parish are strong, which will put us in a good position to adjust and change as we seek to continue all of the ministries of this parish with fewer staff members in the short term. This is an important opportunity for our parish at this time; for each one of us to live out our baptismal ministry in building up the Body of Christ in this place.
As always, please know that I am available to you, and that my door is open.
The Reverend Noah H. Evans, Rector
Dear People of St. Paul’s:
I am so grateful for my time with you at St. Paul’s, and grateful for getting to be a part of all that God has been up to here since I arrived in 2015. Priests often think they are bringing their gifts to a parish to serve its parishioners, which is true enough; but I have also received so much from you. It’s because of the time I have had here that I feel equipped, prepared, and eager for this next chapter of ministry at St. Anne’s in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Lincoln, MA. I leave in the confidence that the growth that we have seen at St. Paul’s – in membership, involvement, and spiritual practices – will continue, and that the same Life that I have been so grateful to share in is only the beginning of what God has in store for this church.
Finally, a thanks to Noah: his leadership, guidance, and support have been uniquely formative for my own ministry. He taught me that leadership was about empowering people to make decisions for a future they cannot control. We are each empowered, and the future, while not controllable, is certainly bright.
The Reverend Garrett Yates