Not quite a month ago, Fr. Michael let me know he was a finalist to be the next rector of Christ Church in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. While selfishly speaking this news didn’t give me joy, my assumption was that after three years of fruitful ministry at Epiphany this was probably where God would call him, and that Michael is going to be a great rector.
Michael has now been offered, and has accepted that position (see his letter below).
I am so grateful for Michael’s ministry here: for the many hours he has invested in passing on our faith to our children and youth; for his gifted preaching and teaching to the congregation as a whole; for the support and help he has been to me as my associate over this first year of my ministry as Epiphany’s rector. I couldn’t imagine doing it without him. I will miss Michael, as I know we all will.
I also know this. Michael is following God’s call to Christ Church. Because God is doing the calling, that means that God is also calling to Epiphany the person we need to fill the very big shoes that Michael leaves behind. This past Tuesday, the vestry met, and is in full agreement that just as we called Michael to Epiphany because we are a church that values and prioritizes passing our faith on to the next generation and the other ministries he led so well, we will immediately begin the process of identifying the next person God is calling to these ministries at Epiphany. Our goal is to build on the great work Michael has done for God’s kingdom. In the meantime, we will be looking for people to help us over the interim period this fall. Watch the Candle newsletter for more about this as we go forward.
Michael’s last Sunday at Epiphany will be September 13. Over the next month, we have an opportunity to express our gratefulness for his ministry at Epiphany and to wish Michael, Tracy and Caleb Godspeed as they take this exciting step. In all of this, we can have confidence that God is at work for good.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8.28).
A letter to Epiphany from Fr. Michael…
It is with mixed emotions that I write this letter. I am excited to announce that my family and I will be moving to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina where I will become the new rector at an Anglican church called Christ Church. Tracy and I have sensed very clearly God’s hand in the process of discerning his call to go to Christ Church. We are confident that this is God’s direction for us and we are very happy to be moving into this new role.
At the same time, we are sad to be saying goodbye to Epiphany. We have been at Epiphany since 2012, and we have grown a lot here in the past few years. This congregation has helped us through two moves, the birth of our son, and many other milestones that will not be forgotten. You gave me the opportunity to teach two adult education classes on topics that I am very passionate about. We walked together through three successful sports camps in which we have reached many children with the love of Jesus. We have seen teenagers make their faith their own and seek after Jesus. And I especially thank you for the incredible blessing this congregation has been to my wife and son. We have made wonderful friends, and we will miss this Epiphany family. We pray that God will continue to guide Epiphany in the direction that he has for you and that he will use this congregation to advance his kingdom in Herndon and beyond.
Thank you for the time that we have shared together here at Epiphany. Thank you for the chance to serve as your Associate Rector. And, most importantly, thank you for your partnership in the Gospel.
The Rev. Michael Guernsey