July 12, 2018
The Wardens, Vestry, and People of
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Rockingham Parish
Dear Friends in Christ:
A little over nine years ago, on May 1st of 2009, I came to Harrisonburg to serve as your Rector. I am thankful and humbled that God called me to be with you and that the Search Committee and the Vestry discerned that God was calling us to grow together in grace and to share God's love with all around us. Being with you as your pastor, priest and teacher, and the accomplishments that we have made as fellow servants of Christ are for me sure signs that God indeed called me to be with you for this time and that the Holy Spirit has blessed us in this shared ministry.
Today I write to you to tell you that my call to serve as Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Rockingham Parish, is coming to an end. I respectfully request that the Vestry of Emmanuel Church release me from the obligations and privileges of being your Rector, effective on September 1, 2018. In conversation with the Wardens, August 19th is set as my last Sunday in the parish.
I have accepted a call from The Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman to serve under the bishops as Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries of the Diocese of North Carolina. I make this decision with an intense mixture of emotions. These include profound gratitude for the many blessings that we have received here at Emmanuel Church and for the privilege of knowing and ministering to the splendid people of this church. I am also aware of a great deal of sadness because I will be with you no longer. You are very dear to me! It is not easy to leave. I cannot thank you enough for the honor that you have given me in welcoming me into your lives to share your joys and sorrows and to pray together that we all might become more faithful followers of Jesus. I am also thrilled with my new call. I have a lot of excitement and joy in anticipation of the possibilities before me to serve God with the bishops and people of the Diocese of North Carolina.
The Wardens and I will work attentively during the days left to ensure a smooth transition. The Vestry, in consultation with the Bishop's Office, will determine the way forward. Emmanuel is a strong and healthy parish. Know that you are capable of creating a much brighter future. You have answered an awesome call to proclaim and live the Good News of God's love in Jesus Christ to every person-no exceptions! You work for the well-being of all people and to the greater glory of God. You are wonderful indeed.
I thank you all: current and past vestry members, all leaders, and all parishioners. What an honor and joy it has been for me to serve the Lord in this beautiful corner of God's creation and in this extraordinary community of faithful people. To our stupendous staff: words cannot express the depth of my gratitude. Wendy Filler, Linell Gray Moss, Brad Lehman, Eva Aguiriano, and Peggy Roy serve Emmanuel week in and week out with great professionalism, effectiveness, cheerfulness, devotion, and love. Deacon Ed is the most faithful and caring pastor anyone will ever have. Bar none. We are so blessed to have you, Ed! I thank all of you and I thank God for you from the bottom of my heart.
Emmanuel Church, I will take you with me in my heart and in my prayers. God bless and keep you.
Under The Mercy,