New Rector’s Letter to Christ Church
16 July 2017
Beloved in Christ Jesus at Christ Church, Port Republic,
I rejoice in your call to me as your Rector. I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve among you. Cheryl and I look forward to joining you in a few weeks, as I begin my ministry with you on 1 October and we make our home in the Christ Church rectory. (And we look forward to being with you as visitors, on Saturday, 26 August, for your 151st Jousting Tournament!)
During my visits to Christ Church, I was impressed by the good work you are doing there. I look forward to joining you in that work, as together we proclaim the same Good News that Christ Church has shared with Calvert County since 1672, the same Good News that disciples everywhere have shared with the world for over two thousand years, of God’s love for all people made real in Jesus Christ.
When I was a young boy, I remember seeing our parish priest at the altar on Sundays and thinking, “One day that will be me.” It took that boy a long time to answer his call. I earned undergraduate, M.B.A, and law degrees from Cornell University. For twenty-five years, I served in the U.S. Army, as an intelligence officer and in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. My last assignments at the Pentagon brought our family to Saint Andrew’s Church, Burke, Virginia, which sponsored me for ordination. After I retired from the Army, I attended Virginia Theological Seminary, where I served at Washington Hospital Center; Saint Peter’s, Purcellville; and Saint Mary’s, Arlington. After seminary, I served as Assistant to the Rector at Christ Church, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., and then Emmanuel Church, Greenwood, Virginia, called me as their Rector. My ministry at Emmanuel will end on Sunday, 30 July.
I met my wife, Cheryl, while we were both in law school. We have been married for almost 27 years. We have two adult children, Elizabeth, who teaches music at a KIPP school in Arkansas, and Thomas, who will start his senior year at the College of William & Mary soon.
Thank you to your search committee, wardens, and vestry. They went about the task of discernment with great patience, dedication, thoroughness, and a sincere trust in the Holy Spirit’s leading. I was impressed by the way they went about their work, and by the love for God and your parish family that they demonstrated so clearly.
I have always been moved profoundly by the prayer new Rectors pray when they are installed. You can find it in our Prayer Book on pages 562-63:
O Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; yet you have called your servant to stand in your house, and to serve at your altar. To you and to your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do. Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted to my care, and grant that I may faithfully administer your holy Sacraments, and by my life and teaching set forth your true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my ministry. In prayer, quicken my devotion; in praises, heighten my love and gratitude; in preaching, give me readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may be drawn into your blessed kingdom. All this I ask for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
I look forward to the day I can kneel in your midst and pray that prayer, surrounded by all of you.
You will be in my thoughts and in my daily prayers from now until then, and Cheryl and I ask that you pray for us, our family, and the church that is saying good-bye to us, until we join you.
Yours in Christ,