In 1941, Dorothy Sayer’s mother wrote to her adult children a love note at the height and horror of the bombing of London. In part she penned, “In the Christian life we are converted to a great mission that began before we arrived, is larger than the present age and will continue long after we are gone. Thus, we have no reason for halting anxiety. Gratitude and generosity are simply what we find irresistible to express when we really believe that God loves us. In an answering love we are called to service; to a faithful offering.”
That’s what Mr. Fred Staley has been doing at Bethesda-by-the-Sea for the past nine years. Thus, it is with decidedly mixed emotions — joy and loss, that I announce that Fred, our Associate for Administration, has accepted a call to serve as Executive Director of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia. Please see Fred’s note to the congregation, below.
Our joy, of course, is that Bethesda has reaped the benefits of Fred’s talents during the 9 years of his ministry. Our joy is also for the congregation of St. Stephen’s, Richmond. Once again the people of Bethesda-by-the-Sea have sent forward a gifted and faithful person for the larger church.
Our loss is that we will no longer share ministry with Fred. He has a special way with people, especially in the areas of organizing and administering ministries and overseeing buildings and budgets, and he will be missed by many.
Fred’s last day with us will be October 28. Administrative oversight between Fred’s departure and the new rector’s start-up will be handled by existing staff.
In the midst of transitions, God provides the right people at the right time, and gives us fortitude, hope and a zeal for what’s next. I guess that’s what Jesus meant by keeping our “hands on the plow.” We wish Fred well as we say goodbye and anticipate in the coming month welcoming the new rector. God is full of surprises and blessings.
A message from Fred Staley
When I interviewed at Bethesda, I remember telling the Wardens at the time that I was likely seeking the last job I would ever have. Up to a couple of weeks ago, I still thought that to be true. But for any Christian, especially one who works in ministry, we must heed when God calls. I am answering the call to continue my ministry at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. I do so with great joy and anticipation for what is ahead and with both pride and sadness for what I am leaving behind.
I want to thank you for the opportunity I have had here these last nine years. I have grown professionally, thanks in large part to the challenges, encouragement, and guidance I received from you. I am grateful for that, but more so, I am grateful for the personal connections my wife and I have made here. I will miss many things about South Florida, the warm winters, the beautiful beaches, and the endless attractions. But mostly I will miss you, the people of Bethesda-by-the-Sea.