On August 27, 2018, my moving truck pulled into the rectory, I had arrived. On September 1, 2018 we celebrated our first Sunday together. It is hard to imagine that before the next Evangeline comes out; we will have been in ministry together for a year. During this time we have formed a pastoral relationship. But what is a pastoral relationship other than being fancy church jargon? In the Episcopal Church we are part of a diocese, in our case The Diocese of Virginia, which has offices in Richmond and Northern Virginia. Our diocese is led by a bishop, currently The Rt. Rev Susan Goff. The Bishop is the chief pastor of the diocese, hence that thing that looks like a shepherd’s crook, in church jargon we call that a crozier.
The bishop cannot possibly get around every parish in his or her diocese every Sunday and so delegates pastoral responsibility to the clergy. I have delegated responsibility for Grace and St. Mary’s churches here in Berryville. It is my responsibility to tend to the sick and the poor and celebrate the sacraments here in Clarke Parish.
Many people ask me what the difference is between a Priest in Charge and a Rector. From a day to day perspective there is none. A priest in charge has all the authority and responsibility as if that person were the rector. There are two very minor differences, one is that a priest in charge has a three-year contract rather than a tenure and the other is that the priest in charge reports to the bishop where the rector reports to the vestry. More and more parishes are going the priest in charge route as unlike an interim rector once the priest in charge has been in the parish a minimum of eighteen months and a maximum of three years the vestry can elect to make the priest in charge the next rector.
On September 1st we will have been together for one year and I have to say I have enjoyed every minute of it. You are a loving Christ centered parish with a heart for the gospel. We have already done some exciting things together, a new website; new services such as Nine Lessons and Carols, Taize and Jazz Sunday; we have kept old traditions alive such as Wicliffe and Mass on the Grass, we are being more intentional about our Outreach, we have had exciting new programs in adult education and on September 8th we will have our first ever ministry fair.
I want to thank the wardens that have made this year such a smooth one, Jess Bacon, Penny Poe, Tom McFillen, Kevin Talley and Edwina Mason. Now let’s look forward to the year ahead and make it an even greater one!