From the Rector
April 27, 2014
As I have walked the journey of my vocation as a priest, I’ve been increasingly aware of the need to know when it is time to step down in parish ministry and finish well. That time has come for Penny and me. Over the past few months, Penny and I have sensed that after thirty-three years of pastoring churches, God is calling us to a next step in what ever form of ministry that might be. As we have prayed, I have reached out for advice from Bishop Guernsey and Bishop Bena. They have been great spiritual guides to Penny and me through their encouragement in this new direction for us. Still, it’s a serious issue not just for us, but also for Epiphany.
I’ve met with both wardens, submitted my intention to retire from parish ministry on August 30 and asked the Vestry to pray with Penny and me as we step out in faith. With the guidance of Bishop Guernsey, the Wardens and Vestry will work on a transition plan that will assure continuity of care for our people as well as continuation of the wonderful worship and ministry of Epiphany. They will also address the need for a new rector. Epiphany’s other clergy and staff members have served Epiphany faithfully and well. I have every confidence they will continue to do so during this transition.
There is so much to look forward to. Our neighborhood outreach to the school continues to grow. This year has seen our Sunday attendance numbers rise for the first time in five years. The financial picture, while difficult for a portion of 2013, is improving. With the planned addition this summer of Walter Barrientos’ ministry to reach our Latino neighbors Epiphany’s outreach has a bright future.
I have known for some time that Epiphany would be my last church to lead. It is also true that it is the place where I have been the happiest during these last two years of many transitions, and great rebirth. Over the next months and into the summer I will continue to lead Epiphany and work hard for a good transition leaving us in a healthy place until my resignation at the end of August. My pastoral relationship with the people of Epiphany will cease at the end of summer but the friendships will continue. Penny and I don’t know what God will be leading us into the future but we are confident my ministry as a priest will continue. We are also assured that God will continue to bless and keep Epiphany and use it to build his Kingdom in Herndon, just as he has faithfully done for these many years. It has been an honor and a privilege to be your rector these last sixteen years.
God bless you.
Next Steps for Epiphany
A Letter from Tom Will, Epiphany’s Senior Warden
By now you have heard of Father Robin’s decision to retire from parish ministry after a fruitful thirty three years of service. As Senior Warden of Epiphany, I have received Father Robin’s letter of retirement as Rector, effective August, 30, 2014. I want to give you an outline of the policy and procedures your Vestry will follow to select his successor.
When informed by Father Robin of his intent to retire, Merle Stromberg, Junior Warden, and I contacted Bishop Guernsey seeking his guidance and help. Per his instructions, we will be following the Canons of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and the By-laws of the Church of the Epiphany in selecting Father Robin’s successor. Additionally, Bishop Guernsey will be meeting with the Vestry on 14 May. This is how we will proceed:
- First, I think it is important for everyone to understand that there is a significant difference between the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church for finding a successor for the Rector. In the Episcopal Church, an Associate Rector is not permitted to succeed the Rector; however, in the Anglican Church, an Associate Rector can succeed the Rector.
- The Vestry needs your help in the search
- Epiphany is a praying Church and the Vestry believes prayer and turning to God for his help and guidance is the first thing we need to do.
- We ask that each of you would pray that God would give Epiphany a clear discernment of the qualities and skills our next Rector should have. Please share with the Vestry what messages God gives you and especially any Bible verses that come to that you.
- Father Peter is open to be considered to be our new Rector. If he determines through discernment that he is being called to be our Rector, the Vestry after discernment will vote on his application. It is important to note neither he nor Fr. Robin are involved or directing the process. This is the role of the Vestry and Bishop Guernsey.
- If Father Peter is not led to apply to be our next Rector or the Vestry votes not to approve his application, the Vestry would then form a search committee with Vestry and non-Vestry membership and work with Bishop Guernsey for a large-scale search.
- As the Vestry moves through this process I will have updates in the Candle and Star as well as special meetings, as needed, to keep everyone informed of the progress.
- If you have any questions or inputs please email the Wardens at firstname.lastname@example.org . Merle and I expect at least one of us to be available after every 10:00 am service. You can also call me at home in the evening at 703 803-7993. We will have a basket in the Chapel to leave notes for the Vestry.
- The Vestry asks for your prayers and support as we work our way through the selection process. Thank you.