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The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin,
rector of St. Columba's Episcopal Church
Wed., July 13, 2016
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Several years ago, when St. Peter's, Philadelphia, was preparing to call a new choir director, the senior warden reported that his children, both of whom sang in our choir, were feeling anxious about this unknown person. "How will this person compare to the one who was with us before?" He assured them, "It will not be the same, but I am confident the new choir director will be differently great."
At St. Columba's we are not searching for a new choir director, but we are about to welcome one new associate rector and have begun the process to find another new associate rector. I am confident that each will be differently great.
The Rev. Kate Heichler, our new Associate Rector for Worship and Outreach, has rented a small house in Tenleytown. She is very excited to move here in the first week of August and begin her ministry here shortly thereafter. She is eager to meet each and every one of us and will be making a special point to meet with leaders and participants in our worship and outreach ministries.
Our position announcement for a new Associate Rector for Formation and Pastoral Care has been posted and letters of interest are coming in. Please spread the word. As before, I am convening a small task force to help in my discernment. If possible, I will extend an invitation to the ideal candidate by early October with hopes s/he can start in Advent.
As the body of Christ, our relationships with one another are the lifeblood of St. Columba's. With the departure of two vital members of our clergy, some may feel they have lost an important relationship and connection to this congregation. Others are looking eagerly toward a new chapter. During this season of transition, please join me in redoubling our efforts to connect with and look out for one another. First and foremost, hold St. Columba's in your prayers. If you sense someone may feel adrift, please reach out to her or him. If you are eager to connect more fully, please reach out to me or another member of the staff.
I am excited about the seasons ahead and the extraordinary possibilities God may have in store for us. In his own life, Jesus sought out those in need, embodied compassion and justice, and offered life abundant. As the differently great body of Christ today, let us seek to do likewise.
Tues., June 21, 2016
It gives me great pleasure to let you know that the Rev. Dr. Katherine Anne Heichler has accepted my invitation to join us as Associate Rector for Worship and Outreach.
With a deep commitment to sharing the love of Christ, Kate brings abundant gifts to this new role. She is a creative liturgist passionate about designing traditional worship and new expressions. While serving as Priest-in-Charge of Church of Christ the Healer in Stamford, CT, Kate has been the Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut. In that role she fostered collaborative efforts among faith communities to address justice issues and social needs. She conceived and organized Community Catalyst Conversations which bring citizens and nonprofit leaders together monthly in strategic conversations about big challenges facing our communities, such as homelessness, addiction and immigration. In her ministry among those who are homeless, Kate has integrated prayer, worship and tangible expressions of care and support. Her experience will be a great asset as we seek to strengthen and further our current ministries, and discern new opportunities.
Kate is someone who pays attention to the presence of the Holy Spirit, open to the ways in which God may be beckoning us forward, exploring new possibilities for mission and ministry. A caring pastor of young and old who listens deeply, laughs easily and communicates effectively, I believe Kate will be a gift to our congregation, staff and wider community. Kate will be moving from Connecticut and joining us at St. Columba's in early August.
I received forty applications from all over the country, many from extraordinarily gifted priests. I extend my thanks to the many people who assisted in this discernment process, including members of the discernment committee - Karen Abrams, Jane Dana, Margaret Griffin, Bob Leland and Schroeder Stribling; members of the vestry, the staff and parishioners who met with our three finalists.
To the Saints at St. Columba's ~
I cannot express how full my heart is with gratitude, anticipation and joy at the prospect of joining you in ministry. Your reputation as a wonderful church is far-reaching, and my experience with those whom I met when I visited in May confirmed how well justified is that regard.
The giftedness, faithfulness, vitality and vision of this congregation is staggering. I am counting the days until I can settle in with you and participate fully in what God is up to among you, and through you to the wider community. I have experienced extraordinary blessing during this discernment process, and take that as a sign that the Holy Spirit has great things in store for us as I join Ledlie and the many ministry teams, children and adults who comprise the beautiful part of Christ's body called St. Columba's. See you in August!
Please join me in welcoming Kate Heichler.
Fri., May 6, 2016
Beloved in Christ,
It gives me great joy to tell you that Jennifer Turner has accepted my invitation to join the staff of St. Columba's as part-time Minister for Member Engagement, effective May 9th.
Jennifer's charge: to help each member of St. Columba's connect with the whole. To be successful, Jennifer cannot do it alone. This will require a team effort from one and all in support of the rector and vestry's strategic initiative: "to generate a culture of engagement within this congregation; to connect parishioners with one another, with opportunities for service that match their gifts, and with ministries that will support them as they grow in faith."
Jennifer will be working collaboratively with clergy, congregational leaders, and the welcome and hospitality teams to ensure that each person is invited to participate as fully as they desire and is invited to be part of a particular small group, ministry or activity.
Jennifer's credentials for this role are impeccable. She is a lifelong member of St. Columba's and recently served as senior warden. Most importantly, she has a heart brimming with enthusiasm, joy, and a love of Christ. She embodies a warmth and interest in each person that says, "you are welcome, you are precious, and you are known."
The apostle Paul gives us an image of the church as the body of Christ; each part of the body is vital to the health of the whole. I believe God is calling this community anew to bold and faithful action and ministry in the world. Are we ready? As we prepare to run the race of faith that is set before us, let us tend in every way to nurture health and vitality within, calling forth the gifts of one and all.
Jennifer writes: "I am filled with gratitude and joy as this new chapter in my life at St. Columba's begins. Accepting Ledlie's invitation to join the staff was not a difficult decision. It offers me the opportunity to serve the parish family I love in a new capacity, working with Ledlie and the wonderful staff at this auspicious time.
"Please know that along with energy, enthusiasm, and experience in this parish, I also bring an awareness that I still have much to learn and so many of you to get to know. As you have done throughout my journey here, I hope you will bear with me as I learn, try new things, and stumble along the way. My sense is we are all on a new path, one that promises challenging climbs, old and new travel companions, beautiful vistas, occasional detours, interesting conversation, and plentiful picnics. We must trust that our common destination, including important stops along the way, will be revealed in good time, while we grow together in strength and love as the body of Christ."
Please rejoice with me and welcome Jennifer into this new leadership role.