As we plan events to acknowledge Rev. Matt’s many years of service, it is important to think about how to make this transition a healthy one.
Soon we will welcome an interim rector and eventually a permanent rector, both of whom will strive to create relationships with us, to gain our trust, and to continue the many faithful traditions of our 75 years. To do so means we will look to these individuals as our new priests, as the ordained ones to provide us pastoral care, to guide the day-to-day business of the church, and to oversee liturgy and officiate religious rites. This is also true for our Associate Rector, Nancy, as she continues to become familiar with and ministers to St. Mark’s.
After he departs, Rev. Matt will create a life of retirement, one that doesn’t include serving as a priest of St. Mark’s, and we owe him the time and opportunity to do so. The concerns of the church will no longer be his. This means he cannot inquire about matters of the church and more importantly, he can no longer perform any clergy functions or pastoral concerns for any member of the congregation or their families. This applies despite his genuine and long-time relationships with members of St. Mark’s. This is the long-standing policy of the Episcopal Church – to create a firm separation between rectors, giving the new rector space to establish themself while enabling the outgoing rector to move on completely. This will be a hard thing for some of us, but it is necessary so we can move forward.
Recognizing these two important factors of transition will ensure that it is a healthy and fruitful one. As was said on Pentecost when Rev. Matt shared his retirement news, the church is at a ready place for this. We have the vitality, the leadership, and the faith to continue our journey, and Rev. Matt has prepared us well. We, the people of St. Marks, are this church.