Dear St John’s,
You as a parish have seen many associate rectors arrive and then leave equipped with new skills and experiences to begin the next season of their ministry. I’m writing to inform you that I, too, will soon begin the next season of a new ministry. Like those who have gone before me, I am sad to say goodbye, but also excited about the future.
I am excited to announce I have discerned a call to Air Force Chaplaincy. I have been appointed a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force and will most likely begin Officer Training School in mid-October. After I complete that, the family and I will move to our duty station where I will serve as an Air Force chaplain. Lauren and the kids are excited, and we are looking forward to this next step for us as a family.
A couple of years ago, I attended a lecture given to Air Force chaplains about the Air Force’s effort to recruit more chaplains. The speaker said something along these lines: “If we can get an imam, a rabbi, or an Episcopal priest—it’s like finding a unicorn.” Those words struck me deeply and began a process of discernment. I began to wonder if God was calling me to this ministry.
I was initially surprised to find myself thinking of Air Force chaplaincy, but this call has arisen as a result of relationships I have here at St John’s and in Montgomery as a whole. St John’s is located a couple of miles from Maxwell Air Force Base and it was on that base I had my first lunch with a St John’s parishioner. One of my first special events here at the church was an Eagle Scout celebration for an Air Force family’s son. Deonna and St John’s parishioners have served in or currently work with the Air Force. In addition to my life at St John’s, most of my relationships outside the parish here in Montgomery have been with members of the Air Force. It is through these relationships that I developed a deep appreciation for Airmen (the term used for male and female members of the Air Force) and their families. This deep appreciation, the skills and experience I have as an Episcopal priest, the needs of the Air Force, and Lauren’s encouragement and support as well as Robert and Deonna’s, have all helped me discern this call to Air Force chaplaincy.
Lauren, Rowan, Phoebe, and I came to Montgomery straight out of seminary three years ago. You welcomed us here and supported us as we began a family life of ordained ministry. I will always be grateful for being able to partner with you, and for all the ways we’ve grown during this season of ministry as a parish, staff, and clergy team.
My last Sunday here as your associate rector will most likely be October 11th. We will have time to say our goodbyes, and in the meantime the transition to the new rector will continue. I continue to hear good reports from the Discernment Committee and I’m excited about the future of St John’s.