This morning we announced that after ninteen years as rector, we are leaving St Silas at the end of the summer. I am to serve as rector of St Thomas' Church, Corstorphine. A very emotional day in so many ways, but we have a strong sense of calling to this and we will be leaving at a time of much happiness. Not all my predecessors can say that!
The goal now is to end well, and begin a new ministry in Edinburgh at the end of September.
Much downsizing is required as we'll be moving to a smaller home - it's amazing how much stuff has accumulated over the years. It's possible that I'll commute to Edinburgh for a month or two if our new home is not ready yet. Our new vestry might end up renting our old home from our old vestry.
We've been humbled by the understanding, supportive comments and love of so many today. I've managed to hold back public tears, though they have flowed privately. Above all, we are so grateful to the Lord for all that he has given to us, and that amazingly He has allowed me to continue to serve in ordained ministry for so long.
Here's a letter we gave out to the congregations this morning and evening:
It is with some tears that we write to let you know that we will be leaving St Silas’ on 31 August. David is accepting a call to be rector of St Thomas’, Corstorphine in Edinburgh. The institution is likely to be during the last week of September and we hope that you will consider joining us on that occasion.
St Thomas’ is in many ways the mother church of evangelicals in the Scottish Episcopal Church and over the years has enjoyed a close relationship with St Silas’. This move will hopefully strengthen those bonds.
We are so grateful to you all for your loving support down through the years. You are an amazing part of the people of God! In the difficulties, changes and mess of life you have shown true grace and loving welcome. It’s a mark of what kind of church we are: full of truth and grace.
Some will worry about what lies ahead. We’d want to remind you that the rector is not the head of the church, Jesus is. Now is a time to look to Him for His leading. The next year or so will involve a process of profiling both the congregation and the kind of person you hope to call as your next rector. It will need much working together and caring for one another. You’ll also need to undergird everything with prayer. It will be a good time, as you seek together for what the Lord has next for you.
The vestry will be looking at the way ahead. It is likely that a ministry team will be set up consisting of an interim rector (appointed by vestry and licenced by Bishop Gregor), assisted by the staff and other members of the congregation. Details of this and how it will function will be given as soon as they are finalised.
David came here as a young man and as he has grown older, he has learned so much, and is maybe a little wiser. He is thankful for your patience when he has not always got things right, and it has been a great encouragement to work together over the years to serve the Lord. For all this and for so much more, St Silas Church will always have a precious place in our hearts.
In closing, we quote the prophet Samuel’s farewell words, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” I Samuel 12:23-24
David & Ali