Letter from the Rector
October 11, 2017
Dear Friends in Christ,
For more than eight years it has been a joy and a privilege to serve as rector of St. Anne’s Church. For Joe to join me over seven years ago as associate rector and to have him offer his skills and gifts at St. Anne’s has been a further blessing to me and to our parish. It is with a mix of sadness and joy that I tell you that we believe God is calling us to a new ministry-sadness, because you are our church, our family in Christ, and we love you and care for you deeply; joy, because we believe it is the faithful response we should make to God’s call.
We have been made aware of a great need for clergy with PhDs in theological fields to teach in Anglican seminaries in Africa. We have made a commitment to work as volunteers in Global Mission with the Episcopal Church, looking to support an effort called the Galatians 6:2 Conference (Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”), a partnership of Anglican provinces in Africa and the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church’s Global Mission Office hopes to have us based at one seminary and travel to other seminaries to teach and build bridges between the provinces and our Episcopal Church. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of the Diocese of Cape Town in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, has expressed his support for the project, so the hope is we would be based in South Africa.
While there are several details to be worked out (including when we will depart for Africa), I am aware of St. Anne’s Church’s need to plan for the future, our need to prepare for our new call, and my commitment to transparency and openness as a leader of our parish that bring me to tell you about this now. In consultation with the Executive Committee, and with the support of our Vestry, our last day on St. Anne’s Church staff will be January 31, 2018; our last Sunday in worship will be January 29. St. Anne’s annual meeting will take place the following Sunday, February 4. Leaving before the annual meeting seems like a good way to mark the beginning of a new chapter for St. Anne’s Church.
For Joe and me, our preparation includes a time of rest before starting a new ministry, meetings with mission personnel, orientation to mission work, working on our French (another great need is for Anglicans who can speak and teach in French in countries where there are many French-speaking Anglicans), and disposing of our belongings.
We will share more details with you as they develop. We want you to be part of this journey of discovering God’s will for us, even as God continues to call you and St. Anne’s to new ministries and to continue those that are foundational to St. Anne’s as a church. St. Anne’s has a strong vestry and the diocesan staff will offer guidance and support through this transition. We desire your prayers, and we will continue to pray for you.
In Christ’s love and service,
The Rev. Amy E. Richter
Letter from the Senior Warden
St. Anne’s Family,
As Senior Warden, I am aware that as we begin this time of transition there will be many emotions that we will experience both individually and as a parish. It is important that we understand that our feelings-whether sad, angry, excited, or anxious-are normal. As a community of Christian believers, we will be transformed. We have many reasons to celebrate God’s grace, including the blessing of Amy and Joe and their new work as missionaries.
I have every confidence that God is with us in the transition process and will give us the strength to discern the path ahead. I assure you that I, the Executive Committee, and the Vestry will work closely with the Diocese to make the transitions as seamless as possible. Although things may feel unsettled for a while, we must put our trust in God that whomever God has called to be our next rector will come at the right time. We are grateful for the Rev. M. Dion Thompson’s continued presence with us and our dedicated, supportive staff. We will have clergy available all through the transition to continue our worship services and programs, attend to pastoral emergencies, to pray with us and counsel us. As Senior Warden, I am at your disposal at all times.
With God’s love and guidance, we will continue the amazing work and missions of St. Anne’s. In the months ahead, we will need time to grieve our loss, say goodbye and wish Amy and Joe well as they move on to a new adventure. We then need to get ready for a new rector. With God’s help we will welcome our new rector with open hearts and be ready for exciting changes that will come with them.
The Executive Committee and Vestry have begun the preliminary steps in hiring an interim rector. A search committee will be formed to develop a parish profile and then interview and recommend a candidate for Vestry’s consideration. The process of calling a new rector often takes a year, and we are committed to keeping you well informed about the process.
The Vestry and I are dedicated to a transparent, positive, faithful transition process. Our hearts are open to the exciting possibilities that this transition affords us. Please stay tuned over the coming months for special opportunities to spend time together as a community with Amy and Joe, to celebrate, and say goodbye. We will have lots more information for you as we moved into the search for our new priest beginning soon. Feel free to come to me as Senior Warden or any Vestry member with questions at any time.
May God’s peace be with you,
Dr. Josiah Dykstra