From Fr. Grant
Dear Christ and St Luke’s Family,
Last night I received and accepted the call to serve as Priest in Charge of Trinity, Portsmouth, VA. My last Sunday at Christ & St Luke’s will be July 15 and I will begin at Trinity on August 1.
As many of you know the past few years have been very rough for Trinity with the departure of several rectors in a short amount of time and dwindling attendance. In discerning this call, what you have taught me was very much on my mind as I saw amazing opportunities for service and ministry there when I interviewed with the Vestry. Christ and St Luke’s has been and is an amazing parish in which it was very easy for me to fall in love with and learn much from you all. I hope to take what I have learned and the love you have shared with me and spread that Good News to the people of Trinity and encourage them in their various ministries.
Many, many thanks to Win and the Vestries I have served under in my five-year tenure. The transparent and inclusive ways the leadership here have engaged the parish in major decisions and planning has been enriching to witness and that will serve me the rest of my career. You have assembled the best leadership teams that I have experienced in my 20 plus year history with the Episcopal Church.
Also, I personally thank Win for his wisdom and care hiring and training me as a new priest. He has been a great colleague and friend as well as pastor. I saw first-hand his compassion and care most acutely last December when I was in the hospital. I will miss very much walking down the hall to discuss ideas and concerns and daydreaming with him about the future of the parish. Though, I am encouraged that he and Cathy are across the river and not that far away!
The staff; Betty, Bob, David, Gizelle, Karen, Katie, Kevin, Marj, and Michelle, have been fun to work and develop ministries with. Their friendly support makes the job of the priest not only possible but enjoyable. I thank you all for your friendship and support and will miss you deeply.
Finally, I cannot express adequately my deep love for you all at this Parish. You loved, trusted, cared for and encouraged me more than you will know in this my first cure of souls. From a fabulous ordination, to encouraging my preaching, to cards and gifts of love and support, you all have made these past five years not only rich with learning but a time of deep personal and spiritual growth. Thank you
It is hard to say goodbye to you all. It’s hard to imagine a Sunday elsewhere for me and it’s hard to leave this portion of God’s vineyard and trust its care to another; but I am convinced of this: God, who began a good work among you will bring it to completion in Jesus Christ and I am glad to have had this journey with you.
With a heavy heart, a few tears, and the knowledge of your love and support,
From Fr. Win
“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
The season of Fr. Grant’s blessed sojourn with us at Christ and St. Luke’s is coming to an end as the streams of the Holy Spirit have carried him first to purchase a house in Portsmouth last year and then being called as Priest-in-Charge of Trinity Church in downtown Portsmouth just a few minutes’ walk from his home.
Trinity Church is a great church with an impressive history, and I believe Grant will be precisely the right Rector to redevelop this beautiful downtown church which has faced many challenges in recent years.
So now begins a new chapter in our life and his. Over the next month we will prepare to give thanks and celebrate his time with us – a good five year run for an associate rector. During this time, Grant will conclude pastoral relationships here at Christ and St. Luke’s and wrap up his ministry here so he has the space to let go and be fully present to the life, ministry and community of Trinity, which is already becoming his new parish home.
With Grant’s new call, comes ours as well – our call to thank him for all he has meant to our lives and our church – our call to grieve his departure – and our call then to bless his departing as we blessed his arriving and, in that blessing, to send him forth to his new church and his new life with our love and prayers. Then comes the call to discern a new assistant who can help us move forward into the future the Lord has in store for this extraordinary church.
As he has told you, his last day will be Sunday, July 15. Plans are being formulated to make that day a special celebration of sending forth. I am appointing a committee to oversee that good-bye and give all of us an opportunity to express our appreciation to Grant.
I will then appoint a search advisory committee to help me discern the job description, experience, gifts and profile needed in our next assistant rector.
But right now, our work needs to be focused on celebrating Grant’s time with us, appreciating all he has brought to the life of this parish, expressing how much he has meant to us, and doing our work of grieving so we can let this wonderful priest go – this priest who has touched all of our lives and brought so many gifts to our parish family.
The Rev. Canon Win Lewis