An Announcement from Father Eric
Dear St. Paul’s:
I write to let you all know that I have accepted a call to be the next Rector of St. Gabriel’s Church in Marion, Massachusetts. I believe the word “bittersweet” exists for times like these. On the one hand, Emily and I are profoundly excited to be beginning our next chapter of life closer to our family and friends in Massachusetts. I am also feeling profoundly blessed to be called as a rector so soon into beginning my ordained ministry. On the other hand, with this new call comes an ending of my ministry with each of you. As you all know, a curate is only in a place for a finite time, and sadly my time with each of you is coming to an end soon. My last Sunday with St. Paul’s will be December 6th. Starting December 7th, I will be quarantining in preparation for our baby’s due date., During this time of quarantine, I will be working safely from home and will be available for email and phone conversations. Upon the birth of our baby, which I will be taking my parental leave until January 15, 2021. I will be in Connecticut until the middle part of January.
Looking back on my time as curate here, I am filled with feelings of gratitude. I am deeply grateful to Rev. Stephanie in particular, who has allowed me to bring all of my gifts of ministry to St. Paul’s. Unlike many curates in other places, I was not made to be pigeonholed into only carrying out particular tasks. Instead I was given a life-changing education. I was able to delve into all aspects of parish ministry— from youth education, creating new worship services, and community outreach, to leading buildings and grounds work, having some oversight in the liturgy, preaching, teaching, understanding stewardship, and administration. Not many curates are as lucky as I have been. St. Gabriel’s certainly knew how lucky I am, and partly for that reason, they believed I was ready to be their next rector.
It is always said that a minister wants to leave the church he ministered to better than how he found it. While this sentiment is universal, it doesn’t always apply to every church. In many ways I came here to a parish which was robust, engaged, and healthy. However, I do hope that I shook you all up a bit and challenged each of you in some way. My hope is that you have reimagined what the church can, and perhaps should, look like in the 21st century — a church of outward vision, a church focused on community engagement, and a church which knows its theology and why it believes what it does.
We live in such divided times, and as I have preached on before, the church stands alone in this world more relevant than ever. It stands as a thing poised to bring about wholeness in the lives of so many who are not feeling whole. I hope I also shook you up with Public Theology! I am proud about the work I did with this successful program which bridged the church and community around us. I will look back on that ministry with fondness. I also hope that my preaching shook you up, and that I left you with a better understanding of the rich traditions of the Church and of her Anglican theologies.
In the coming days and weeks I will be strategizing with clergy, staff, and some lay-leaders, about how I can smoothly turn over the many ministries I have been working on at St. Paul’s. I am committed to making sure things transition smoothly. The days and weeks ahead will be full of both excitement and some sadness. Transitions and goodbyes are not always easy, but they bring with them a reminder that the church is called to always be reforming and renewing. So let us look at the time ahead with hope and with the knowledge in our hearts that renewal and change is the stuff of life in the church. So here’s to ecclesia semper reformanda!
Please, as always, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about this time of transition.
God bless each of you.
Father Eric E. Fialho