Dear Bethesda Family,
It is with mixed emotions — joy and loss, that I announce that the Rev. Margaret McGhee has accepted a call to serve as Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Manhattan, Kansas. Please see Margaret’s note to the congregation, below.
Our joy, of course, is that we have reaped the benefits of Margaret’s talents during these years of her ministry at Bethesda. She came as a bright and vigorous deacon, and then priest, with extraordinary talents, and through her seasons with us, she has become a gifted teacher, preacher, liturgist and pastor. Our joy is also for the congregation of St. Paul’s, Manhattan. Once again the people of Bethesda-by-the-Sea have sent forward a gifted priest for the larger church.
Our loss is that we will no longer share ministry with Margaret. She has a special way with people, particularly in the areas of formation, liturgy/preaching, stewardship and pastoral care, and she will be missed week by week by many.
Margaret’s last Sunday with us will be October 10. I have asked Margaret to be the preacher that morning and we will have a “thank you” gathering for Margaret following the 11:00 a.m. worship service. If you would like to contribute to a purse in thanksgiving for Margaret’s ministry, you may give those to her at the reception on the 10th or you may send your gift to the church for that purpose — 141 South County Road, Palm Beach, Florida 33480. All checks should be made out directly to Margaret McGhee.
News of a solid clergy team plan for this coming year will be forthcoming. For now, we want to celebrate Margaret’s ministry and to build on the momentum the clergy, staff and lay leadership have established for this interim period.
This comes with my prayers for Margaret and her new ministry.
I’ll never forget my first Christmas Eve at Bethesda. I had been ordained as a priest only three months before, and I was scheduled as the celebrant at the 7:00 p.m. service. The clergy and lay ministers and choir lined up in the back of the crowded church to begin the procession. Everyone stood to sing “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” I took a deep breath and started walking. I felt in that moment what a privilege it was to be leading worship in such a beautiful place among people I had already come to love.
My love for Bethesda has only grown through my time here. Not every moment has had the grandeur of that first Christmas. There have been hard times — deaths and sorrows, all the struggles and challenges of the COVID pandemic, and the uncertainty of the transition period. There have been quiet blessings — moments of conversation and of prayer. I’m more grateful than I can say for all you’ve taught me and all the blessings you’ve shared with me.
Change is part of life — and of life in the Church. I will miss you when I move to my new call in Kansas. And you will always have a place in my heart. This is, though, the right time for me to go. Bethesda is in good hands, and I know that you will thrive and grow through the interim period and into the future. Over the next few weeks, we’ll say goodbye. I hope I leave with your prayers. You are in mine.
Blessings to you all,