Dear people of Trinity Church,
Greetings as Ginger and I look forward to meeting you at the beginning of 2019. I am honored to be joining you as Interim Rector. My discussions with members of the Vestry have been marked by a warm spirit of welcome and a desire to assure you that the vibrant ministry for which Trinity Church is known will be carried into the future.
During the years Rob Banse and I have overlapped in the Diocese of Virginia, I have appreciated his well-deserved reputation as a pastor, preacher, and leader. It is our good fortune to enter this season of transition secure in the foundation that you and Rob have developed and that we can rely on as we move forward. I have always preferred to build on strengths rather than dwell on weaknesses, and the abundance of strengths among you made the possibility of becoming your Interim Rector especially appealing. At the same time, the Vestry has asked me to share observations about changes that will enhance our mutual purpose to prepare for a new era with the next Rector.
Transitions sometimes seem like inconvenient interludes. The term Interim Rector refers to a temporary figure sitting in until a “permanent” Rector is called. I am uneasy with that distinction because transitions are constantly embedded in life and because the biblical story of God in human life is virtually always about transitions. The people of Israel made the transition from bondage to freedom and later several times from exile to restoration. Followers of Jesus made transitions from weakness to strength, from fear to hope, from anxiety to trust. We begin our time together on the Feast of the Epiphany when the magi discovered a journey to find the Christ child became a transition for a lifetime as “they returned home by a different way.” They travelled, as one person has put it, “from business as usual to business as never before.” With Rob Banse as Rector you have not succumbed to business as usual, and I hope this interim season will be an adventure to discover new ways God engages us in challenging times.
In the broader context of religious experience, transitions can be embraced because nothing in life is permanent except the promise of an active God to be in the midst of the lives of people in every generation. At the same time, transitions are not always easy. We sometimes share the temptation to be like the people who confronted Moses half-way to the land of milk and honey with a longing to return to the perceived security of the past in Egypt. To paraphrase Paul in writing to the Philippians, however, God has not brought us this far to leave us.
I look forward to being with you as together we find our identity as friends in Christ while trusting in the God “in whom we live and move and have our being.”
The Reverend Edward O. Miller, Jr.