Dearest people of St. Andrew’s,
My heart is heavy as I write this letter to you all, as I have accepted a call to another parish, St. Luke’s, Germantown, in the city of Philadelphia. My last Sunday with you all will be October 13th. I have been so blessed with all the love you have shown to me in the two years I have been here.
It has been quite a juggle to balance my responsibilities to my parents in Delaware and my responsibilities here at the parish. Many of you know what that is like. Also, my mother’s diabetes has worsened, and I am very concerned about her. It has become more apparent to me that I need to live closer to them.
I have been so blessed to serve with you all, and I love you all so very much. I also love our Rector, Anne, who has been a great source of holy instruction and collegiality for me. I have been very fortunate to work with a priest who cares very much for St. Andrew’s, and whose wisdom and gentleness I have been privileged to experience and witness. I will miss her and you all and I give thanks to God for you.
I write this letter with a heavy heart. Along with all of you, I have grown to know and love Lorna Williams in the two years that she has served in our midst. One of the great blessings of my ministry thus far at St. Andrew’s was the privilege of calling her.
I’ve heard Lorna described as a “child magnet,” and that is certainly an apt description of her ministry here: reading books with the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School students on the library floor before classes began for the day, playing tag in the little playground with our Hilton Community Playground neighbors, crafting spirit-filled Children’s Chapel lessons, and nurturing our youth through the EYC. In addition, her loving heart, thought-provoking sermons, and wise advice have been blessings to people of all ages, including me.
One responsibility listed in Lorna’s letter of agreement was “to be a counselor to, and confidant of, the Rector.” Lorna has been both ever since her arrival, and I am so grateful. I am a better priest and rector because of the things Lorna has taught me.
While I am so very sad that Lorna will be leaving us, I rejoice for her that her new call will enable her to live much closer to her parents. Along with many of you, I know what it is like to try to balance work with family responsibilities, especially parental care taking. I am grateful to God for finding a way for Lorna to continue to live into her priestly call while making it easier for her to provide help and care to her parents. There is no doubt in my mind that God is at work in this scenario.
The God who brought Lorna into our midst here at St. Andrew’s will not abandon us, or Lorna. As God leads Lorna into her next call, God is also busy preparing the way forward for us. We can’t see the future, but God can. Our task over the next few weeks is to say a good and healthy good-bye to Lorna. Even as we do so, God is lovingly at work on the next chapter for St. Andrew’s.
Lorna’s last Sunday will be October 13. Both services will include a litany of departure, to enable us to send Lorna on her way with our love and blessings, and there will be a reception in Lorna’s honor immediately following the 10:30 service that day. We are collecting a purse as a gift of gratitude to Lorna for her ministry in our midst. If you would like to contribute to that gift, please send a check (made out to St. Andrew’s, with “Lorna” in the memo line) to the parish office by October 11.
Please hold Lorna in your prayers during this time of transition, and please join me in thanking her for all that she has done for us in these past two years. May God bless Lorna abundantly.