A ship plying the coastal waters off the Atlantic Seaboard picked up a seasoned pilot to guide the ship. The new captain in obvious pride exclaimed: “I know most of the shoals and reefs in these waters” — at which point there was a thud of hull hitting bottom — “and glory be to God, there’s one now.” That story has come to mind more than once in recent weeks as I’ve tried to learn the powerful currents of both tradition and expectation which are at Bethesda-by-the-Sea. The only things, traditions, people, hopes, and dreams I really know so far are the ones that I run into. Like the ship captain, I exclaim: “Glory be to God, there’s one now!” It’s a wonderful way of becoming your Interim Rector, of learning a new ministry, of realizing the great currents of resources and talent which are here, reminding me that a parish, like any spiritual reality, has less to do with slick programming and more to do with building a compelling community of faith.
I have been learning as much as I can (the two recent Zoom visits were very helpful) and, when in Palm Beach, to meet as many of you as I can. Not surprisingly, wonderful work has been done by the incredibly creative and productive clergy, staff, and Vestry. And it’s also wonderful to report what many of you already know that along with the beautiful buildings, rich traditions, liturgy and music, there is real desire among many to grow in faith.
My first Sunday with you in person will be August 22. I look forward to meeting many of you on that day or during the weeks following when I’ll return to be with you during the middle weeks of September. In the meantime, I thank you for your support and prayers as we begin this interim season together and prepare to call a new Rector. Valerie joins me in sending love and best wishes for these summer months.