February 24, 2019
Dear St. Brigit Community,
We have just celebrated 10 years together as a mission-driven, life-giving, Spirit-led community. We have looked back over these years and have marveled at what can happen when we take a leap of faith and trust that with God, all things are possible. What a journey it has been.
Now it is time to begin looking towards a new decade of ministry, praying and dreaming about what lies ahead. As I began to hear your dreams and to do this looking forward myself, it became clear to me that God was calling me in a different direction, away from St. Brigit. After much prayer and discernment, I have decided that it is time for me to step down as vicar of St. Brigit on May 9th of this year. As difficult as it was to come to this realization, I could see plainly that it was time for new leadership and vision at St. Brigit. At the same time, I am excited about what God has in store for each of us as we make decisions to believe that God will lead us forward.
I want you to know that it has been one of the greatest joys of my life to work with you, under God’s leading, to plant, water and grow this unique body of Christ known as St. Brigit. You have taught me what it means to live into the hard work of love. You have taught me what it looks like to forgive and start anew, and you have taught me over and again how to trust in the faithfulness of our God. I will carry you with me wherever I go.
The bishop’s committee is aware of my decision to step down and has met with Ann Fleming, the Diocesan Missioner for Transitional Ministry. Together they will work on establishing the path forward for the transition process. This will involve an interim minister who will shepherd the congregation during this time of change helping you learn from this in between time and to explore your vision, mission and identity, as you move through the search process towards calling your next vicar!
What I ask of you in the coming days is that you continue to show up. This community needs you to be present to one another and to God during this time of change. Transitions can be hard on congregations and what will make a big difference is your consistency in worship, in welcoming new people as they walk through the doors, and offering your patience and presence to and for one another as the coming days unfold. Do not forget that we are human and that there will be a variety of emotions expressed in the face of this uncertainty. You, and I, might find ourselves and others angry, sad or discouraged, which are all normal feelings in a situation of such change. I encourage you to extend grace and forgiveness to each other. Be kind and affectionate to one another.
What is next for me is a new season of trust in the provision of God. I am in conversations with the diocesan leadership about how my gifts might be best employed in the work of the church. I don’t have a next call lined up. I am hopeful, however, that my skill set of starting new things, of working with others to listen to God leading and helping congregations identify their core values, mission and vision, will find a place to be used in the larger church. This work is part of what we were able to do together in the early years of St. Brigit and something I would like to offer other congregations moving forward.
There is much change and a good amount of uncertainty ahead, but St. Brigit is a sound congregation with a strong sense of vision for the future. Whenever there is any change or loss our God is masterful at bringing about new life in ways we might never before have asked for or imagined. Our faith and our experiences have taught us to lean into those moments when trust in God is required. I am excited to see how the St. Brigit community will grow in this new season of life and for how I will grow in the new season of ministry which is unfolding. Let us pray for one another, as we walk with God on this next part of the journey. I know that God has great things in store for us all.
With much love in Christ,
Felicia read the letter above to our congregation at today's service. Now we turn our attention to how God is leading us forward in this new process of transition.
To help answer questions you may have about what lies ahead for us in this time of change, please join us on Sunday, March 10th, as we welcome Ann Fleming, Missioner for Transitions and Congregational Development for the Diocese of Colorado. Ann will preach that day and lead a forum following the service to help detail the path ahead all the while reminding us that this is God's church and we are in God's hands, which is a very good place to be.