Greetings St. Liz,
The Woods family is very excited to begin our time with you this coming week. It has been a long hot summer for us as I am sure it has been the same for you.
I am writing this after standing outside with our oldest daughter, Harper, as we watched a nice little summer rainstorm pour down upon us. It was just long enough that it knocked the heat out of the air and left a cool breeze in its wake. It was cool enough that we actually felt like spending more than ten minutes outside after the storm passed. ...Read More
Announcing a Transition in Ministry for St. Liz and the Rev. Daniel P. Strandlundby The Rev. Daniel P Strandlund on January 5, 2022
Dear Members and Friends of St. Liz,
For the past four and half years, it has been my honor and privilege to serve as the Vicar of St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church. I am writing because my tenure as your priest is ending, and I wanted to say that I love you and that I am so grateful for how you have loved me and allowed me to serve here.
As many of you know, Lucy and I are that odd household called a clergy couple. She finished seminary in May of 2020 and started her curacy. Curacy is the church word for your first gig right out of seminary. The standard length for a curacy is two years, so at the end of her first year we began thinking and praying about what might be next for us as a family. Later in the fall of 2021, we began keeping an ear out for opportunities.
Finally, a few weeks ago, Lucy entered a search process with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, NC. That process moved quickly, and it was clear to both the St. Paul’s Search Committee and to us that the Holy Spirit was at work. When the rector of St. Paul’s called Lucy to offer her the position, she enthusiastically accepted, and we rejoiced together. In February, she will start as the Associate Rector for Liturgy and Pastoral Care at St. Paul’s, a cardinal parish of the Diocese of North Carolina.
What this means for St. Liz is that my last Sunday here will be January 30th, 2022. Bishop Reed and your Bishop’s Warden, Maddie Spearman, have already been in touch, and in the coming weeks your Bishop’s Committee will meet with Bishop Reed and the Archdeacon for our diocese, the Rev. Mike Besson, to discuss the clergy transition.
Between now and January 30th, I hope you and I will get to grieve and to celebrate together, to laugh and to cry. The truth is that we have done well these past few years, and I am proud of this partnership in ministry we have had. I am sad to be leaving, even though I am excited for Lucy and me. I am sad, too, that Coronatide happened and so drastically delayed the exciting chapter of congregational life we were entering together as 2020 started. I had hoped to be a part of that chapter of St. Liz’s life.
I say “delayed” because I believe in the loving providence of God and have no doubts about the good gifts God has in store for St. Liz. Neither do I doubt the openness and courage of St. Liz’s spirit to receive them. I know firsthand how strong and how generous you are. I know this because I myself am a stronger and more generous priest and person of faith for having served here. You’ve rubbed off on me. I love you for that and am so grateful.
Whatever is next for St. Liz, I will be cheering you on and praying for you from North Carolina. I hope you will do the same for me.
As for what is next for me, in the short term, I plan to take a sabbatical for most of the spring. I can tell that I need it. Furthermore, as many of you know, for the past few years I’ve been working on a Master of Arts in Systematic and Philosophical Theology through the University of Nottingham in the UK. I will spend much of my time this spring writing my thesis to complete that degree.
Since the spring of 2014, I have been discerning whether God might be calling me to a more academically focused priesthood. I hope that PhD work is in my future, though a great many practical steps remain to be taken before I can say for certain whether that will be the case. Finishing this MA with a strong thesis is one important step.
I also plan to see more of our friends and family in the southeast, especially our nieces and godchildren. Winston-Salem is a great deal closer to (almost) all of them than Texas is. A truth so many families have had to reckon with during the pandemic is that a person only gets to do childhood and adolescence once. I hope to be around a lot more for MJ, Arliss, Thompson, Georgi, Mary Bentley, AE, Ruth, and Alice as they get older. It’s hard work learning to be a human. I want to be around in person as much as possible to help them figure it out. And so they can help me figure it out, too.
There is more to be said, but this is enough for now. Again, I hope to grieve together and to celebrate together. However you’re feeling about this is okay. For my part, I have a mix of excitement and sadness about Lucy’s and my move, and for you all, I have only love and gratitude. Thank you for being who you are.