My Dear Friends,
I am going to assume that most of you have heard that I have decided to retire as Rector of Trinity Church at the end of this year. This decision is the result of a great deal of prayer and reflection over the last six months about the life and direction of our community and my own pilgrimage and vocation. What I have come to hear from the Holy Spirit in the midst of this conversation with God is, quite simply put, that it is time for a change in ordained leadership here at Trinity and a call personally to explore new opportunities for ministry both within and outside of the Church. Please be assured that there are no hidden agendas! It has been a tremendous blessing serving as Rector for the last eleven years. I have thoroughly enjoyed the ministry and love you, the people of this congregation. The author of Ecclesiastes once wrote, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Well, God is calling to a close one season in the life of Trinity. Now, it is time for all of us to prayerfully prepare for the time that lies ahead.
While I cannot presently report the precise details of the upcoming transition, I can share with you some of the likely phases. In the coming four months, I will work with the Vestry, Staff, and other leaders of the congregation as we carefully review all of our current policies, procedures, and guidelines, as well as making sure that the information in our database about our membership is accurate. At the same time, the Vestry will begin the search for an Interim Rector, a priest who will provide spiritual, liturgical, and administrative leadership between the time of my departure and the arrival of my successor. My hope for you is that person will be in place by the end of January.
With the Interim in place, the search for the next Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville, Virginia will begin in earnest. The time frame varies from congregation to congregation, but on average this process takes about eighteen months to two years. The Vestry will have oversight but they cannot do all the work themselves. Each of you will need to step up and take an active part in this search. You may be asked to participate in the life and work of a particular committee. You certainly will be asked to share your thoughts and hopes as to the mission and ministry of Trinity and what spiritual gifts, skills, and talents you believe would most benefit the congregation as embodied in the new Rector. Above all, you will be asked to pray daily for one another, for this incredibly important season in our community’s life, and for those who God is calling to consider joining you in ministry. Let me be very clear. We cannot expect the best possible outcome to this search unless we bring the very best of ourselves faithfully to God and to this work that God now calls us.
There will be much more to discuss in the coming months. Again, I do not like saying goodbye and will not do so until we get into December and the holy season of Advent. In the meantime, please know that Janie and I plan on staying in the community after I step down. While I will not be able to participate in the life and worship of Trinity Church in any fashion after retiring, certainly not during the search process and perhaps beyond, we will look forward to visiting with you as friends and neighbors around the region. You will also be in my thoughts and prayers daily throughout the remainder of my life. May God’s peace be always with you.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rev. Rob Banse