As you read this, it has been one month since The Rev. Ed Miller began his spiritual and administrative leadership. As we continue moving through this period of transition, our hope for the future of Trinity Church affords numerous opportunities to reflect on the things that are best about us as well as our relationship to God and our community.
As part of this reflection, The Vestry is assessing how our committees communicate with one another, Vestry, and staff. It is important that we place communication between one another at the fore of our shared labor of God’s work, especially during this time of transition. Doing so is a transparent learning experience that helps us stay in touch with one another, ourselves, and the needs of our church.
As new Wardens, we are gratified to learn about important ministries that are supported and joyfully guided by parishioners with a desire to do good. For example, we praise the efforts of numerous parishioners to revitalize children’s Christian Education. Additionally, our Outreach Committee is thoughtfully considering new ways of reaching out to the community and the region by working with other committees and churches to serve those in need and to help spread God’s message of love, grace, and acceptance. Importantly, we are also paying more attention to our digital environment by improving our physical and network security capabilities and communications. Finally, the endowment drive in honor of Rob and Janie Banse was an unparalleled success. Such initiatives are great signs that support the future of Trinity Episcopal Church, Upperville. We thank Mr. Miller for his leadership and inspiration in helping to shepherd these programs (and others) during the early weeks of the year.
On February 10, The Rev. Dr. Mary Thorpe will conduct services at Trinity in Ed Miller’s ab-sence. She will be inspiring. We know this because she has been instrumental in preparing Trinity to search for a new Rector, the process for which has barely begun. Finding a permanent Rector starts first by selecting a group of parishioners who will be charged with discerning God’s desire for Trinity; this group is called the “Discernment Committee”. In Mary’s words (she literally wrote the book on this), “this is not a hiring process; it is a process of discernment.” Another theologian says, “Christian discernment is not the same as decision making” in which we might consider goals and options, pros and cons, in a straightforward way. Discernment is about “listening and responding to that place where our deepest desires align with God’s desire.” It reveals “new priorities, directions, and gifts from God.” In other words, the Church will vest in some of our fellow parishioners something more prayerful than a conventional ‘search’ process. Mary’s writing on the subject encapsulates where Trinity finds itself at this time:
“The Diocese of Virginia takes seriously the challenges and joys inherent in transition. Whether the incumbent rector … is retiring or taking another call, this ‘in-between time’ can be an opportunity for accepting the loss of a beloved shepherd, for healing old wounds, for discovering how the church and its surrounding community has changed since the last call, and for imagining how God is calling the church to the Body of Christ now and in the future. There will be anxiety about this future, but, approached faithfully, there may also be great discovery and growth.”
We are delighted and challenged by the prospect of finding a permanent Rector, hopefully by the end of 2019. With your prayers and discerning support, this will be an exciting and fulfilling process. Its success will depend in no small measure on how all the members of Trinity support this effort with prayer and active church work.
Jim Hoecker, Senior Warden
Sanford Diday, Junior Warden