Clergy Transition Update from Maddie Spearmanby Maddie Spearman on January 13, 2022
Dear friends in Christ,
I am writing to you on behalf of your Bishop’s Committee to provide some guidance about what to expect as we prepare for a clergy transition. I hope to answer some of your practical questions, including how your Bishop’s Committee is working with the diocesan office, and to provide reassurance. I also want to put on your calendars the date of January 30th, when we will have “one last hoorah” for Father Daniel.
Meeting with the Bishop
During the past week, your Bishop’s Committee and I have been in frequent communication with Bishop David Reed regarding Father Daniel’s departure from St. Liz and the eventual appointment of a new vicar. On January 20th, 2022, Bishop Reed and Archdeacon Besson will travel to St. Liz to meet with the Bishop’s Committee in person to discuss the transition process.
During the meeting, Bishop Reed and Archdeacon Besson will give us guidance on the following: (1) what the role of the Bishop’s Committee is in a time of clergy transition; (2) the church’s process of preparing to receive a new vicar; and (3) the work that Archdeacon Besson will be doing with the Bishop’s Committee and the greater congregation to help the Bishop identify (by grace) the best available priest to come and serve as our next vicar.
Admittedly, one of my first thoughts after Father Daniel told me about his upcoming departure was, “What do we do?” I bet many of you have asked the same question. While we don’t yet have all the answers to our practical questions, I want to reassure you that St. Liz will be fully supported throughout the entirety of the clergy transition process. To put it simply, we will continue being the Church. Plus, there are a few things we know for certain:
- Bishop Reed and Archdeacon Besson are very familiar with the clergy transition process, and they both know and love St. Liz well. They will offer us full support during this time of change. We are in good and capable hands.
- Father Daniel announced his departure at a special Bishop’s Committee meeting on January 4th. The Bishop’s Committee then met on January 9th, and will meet again on January 23rd. Your Bishop’s Committee will continue to meet every other week to discuss ongoing matters related to the clergy transition, and to make sure the work of the Church continues without interruption. Please feel free to share any thoughts or concerns with the Bishop’s Committee throughout this process. I will give further updates as the need arises.
- Lastly, the presence of the Holy Spirit is evident at St. Liz. Our hearts beat strong for one another and for our church family. We “weather together.” By God’s grace, and with the Bishop’s guidance, St. Liz will lovingly close one chapter of pastoral leadership while joyfully preparing to open the next.
One Last Hoorah
All that said - we still have some precious time left to spend with Father Daniel before we send him and Lucy on their way to Winston-Salem. And golly, we will make the most of it! We will celebrate Father Daniel with a reception on the church lawn following his final service on January 30th, 2022 (more details to come). We will laugh, grieve, play, joke, eat cupcakes, maybe throw a frisbee around - all while giving thanks to God for Father Daniel’s time at St. Liz.
Now, closing thoughts. Whatever you are feeling about having to bid farewell to a well-loved pastoral leader is right and good. Personally, I feel a bit of sadness, and a bit of worry, but I also feel extremely hopeful and humbled about what is to come. As Father Daniel said last Sunday, whatever is over the horizon for St. Liz will make itself known in good time. So, over the next couple of weeks, as we embrace our beloved Father Daniel one last time, we can prepare to welcome what is in store for us with open arms.
In His love,