It is with no small amount of relief that I’m happy to say the period of “holy uncertainty” in our parish has come to an end. This morning, I withdrew my name from consideration following the second ballot of voting in the bishop election of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, which means I will continue as rector of All Saints’ Church. While I was hoping to be able to report the name of the new bishop-elect, the Convocation’s convention will continue voting with a sixth ballot tomorrow morning. The two remaining candidates, the Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler and the Rev. Mark Edington, are gifted priests who have become good friends to Jesse and me. Please keep them, their families, and the delegates to convention in your prayers.
I am deeply aware that your prayers and words of encouragement for me have been offered, at times, through mixed emotions. It is no small thing to wonder about the future of this beloved community in which we encounter God’s love and grace. I have shared your anxieties about our parish at the same time that I offered myself for ministry elsewhere. Yet I have also, in moments of clarity, sensed God’s grace at work among us, a feeling made all the more real to me by the sacrifice of your loving support.
While it has seemed to us at times that the stakes of this process have been high, moments like these help put our ministry in context. In his Letter to the Romans, Paul writes, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38-39). God has been loving All Saints’ Church for over 150 years, and there is nothing that can break that bond.
As we step boldly into this new chapter of ministry together, I do so with a heart overflowing with gratitude and a sense of excitement about the future. I hope to see you in worship this Sunday or in the near future. Until then, may God bless All Saints’ Church.
In Christ’s love,
The Rev. Steven D. Paulikas