Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Letter from Chris: changes to come

Dear Friends,

Several years ago we as a faith community began a discernment process around whether I was being called to ordination. That process, and your affirmation of it, led to the Bishop making me a postulant and my enrollment in The School for Ministry where I have been spending my evenings and weekends for the past two years. This process passed another milestone two weeks ago when the Bishop officially declared me a Candidate for Holy Orders. All of this is a little background to something that I knew was inevitable when we began, but nevertheless feels surreal: I have accepted a call to join the staff at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Poway beginning in August where, assuming my ordination process continues on course, I will serve as a curate before becoming Assistant Rector upon ordination to the priesthood.

Did I say surreal?

As you can imagine, this is both an exciting prospect, as well as a terrifying and sad one. St. Paul's has literally been the only church I've known since you first introduced me to Jesus at the Pride Parade back in 2003. In the years that followed you baptized me, confirmed me, and inspired me to give up a career in law, to go to work for the church that so changed my life. You even introduced me to my husband Joe and then married us in a wedding we will never forget. We have shared so many wonderful memories together, as well as some hard ones and shed more than a few tears along the way. But through it all, through all of you, I found a faith that turned my life upside down. (And continues to!) You all have blessed me in ways that I am still discovering, and for which I will be forever grateful. It is for those reasons and more, that while I will be working at a new church, you will always be my first spiritual home. We won't be moving and Joe will continue to worship at the Cathedral, so unlike some transitions in the church, we look forward to maintaining the many friendships we have made over the years.

You just don't say goodbye to family.

I hope you will join us on my last official day here, Sunday July 26, when we will celebrate our ministry together, both past and future. I will preach that day and I would suspect have a party somewhere where I hope you might meet some of our new friends from St. Bart's. In the meanwhile, there's lots of ministry to do together over the next couple of months. We have a campaign to Light Up the Cathedral preparing to launch as well as the Pride Parade on July 18th - the evangelism event that started it all!

St. Paul's is in such wonderful hands under Dean Penny's leadership. There is a renewed focus on outreach and evangelism that would make our patron proud. There is a dynamic openness to experimentation and imagination emerging and a resurgence in lay leadership that through the Holy Spirit, will take you places you have not yet dreamed. I can't wait to see what you all do next.

With deep gratitude for all that has been, and great hope for what has yet to come.

See you in church!

Chris Harris


Vicki Hoppenrath said...

I can't express how much your presence will be missed by the Cathedral Community. You have been a blessing to us all.
Vicki Hoppenrath

Mim Sellgren said...

We at St. Paul's have been so blessed by the light that shines from your being and the always articulate way you express yourself and help us to find our way. Your journey has transformed us all. St. Bart's will be so blessed to have you there,, as we have been to have traveled with you these last 9 years. Mim Sellgren