Turn, Turn, Turn

“The personal is political.”  This saying was foundational in my adolescence as the Second Wave of feminism was roiling around me.  In the late seventies, when I was a teenager, I heard this phrase as speaking to reproductive rights, vegetarianism, and environmentalism.  Personal choices had collective consequences.  They still do.

I think about this now in the context of my life as a rector at St. Stephen’s.  Personal choices and events have implications which impact not only me, but also my community.  A priest is a public person–my actions can affect the whole.

This spring and summer have been filled with momentous events in my personal life.  My mother almost died; my colleague was critically and is now chronically ill, my youngest child has graduated from high school, and I now inhabit an empty nest with my husband.  My heart is sad, grieving, and tired.

From this personal space, I have had to make decisions so that our common life in ministry thrives.  There are many unknowns coloring these decisions:  St. Stephen’s School is seeking a permanent Head of School, short term disability payments are not paid to the parish immediately, evaluating the most pressing community needs takes time.

I have set as priorities the calling of two people to assist us in our ministry this fall.  One is a chaplain to assist us with the ministry of our school; a part time position which is paid for by both School in community service, and our Church in community outreach in concert with our School.  I have called Ryan Beaty to fill this position because I believe in spiritual diversity, innovation, and relationships with children and youth and I believe he is highly qualified to embody each.   The other position is that of supply priest.  This position is a one day a week commitment centered on Christian formation of youth and adults, with some liturgical responsibilities.  Given the uncertain timeline of Bob Flick’s recovery and our financial constraints, I feel that it is most prudent at this time to focus our clergy requirements to these areas.  I have invited the Reverend Andrea Polvino to assume these duties.

I recognize that both of these are risky calls.  They may not be right.  I may not have interpreted our options and our constraints accurately.  I also know that these choices are for now. My expectation is that St. Stephen’s will great the New Year with two full time priests on staff for the Church and a quarter time chaplain for our school.

I hope you will welcome Ryan and Andrea into our community and receive the gifts they have to offer us.

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