Human beings are usually much better at beginnings and “hellos” than endings and “goodbyes,” but the people of Bethesda could not have concluded our time and this interim in more wonderful ways. Valerie and I are touched by your expressions of gratitude, for the wonderful gifts, cards, notes and the reception on Sunday, October 16. I extend deepest gratitude to our clergy team, the staff, the Wardens, the Vestry, and the many parish groups which make Bethesda such a lively and vital congregation.
This interim has caused me to reflect seriously upon the deepest meanings of the word “church.” Too often we think in terms of buildings and budgets, programs and bulletins. The church happens wherever we faithfully worship God and serve the world in God’s name, and realize, as we do so, all distance between us disappears. The power of that truth makes us one in Christ, joined forever as we celebrate and live out his mission.
I hope you know what an extraordinary church you are. I hope you will open up your hearts and minds as you welcome your new rector, the Rev. Tim Schenck, a gifted priest with wonderful vision for the future, and his wife, Bryna. Make them feel at home, and trust him to provide good leadership for exciting days ahead. And, pull on the oars of parish life: the church needs everyone; everyone’s resources, skills, gifts, and voices.
As the great hymn states: “On our way rejoicing!”