The Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin is Named Rector of St. Columba’s
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Saint Peter’s is a church on a mission: “To embody the love of God as Christ’s heart, mind, and hands.”
Saint Peter’s is an extraordinary community of vitality, grace, abundant gifts, a spirit of adventure, integrity, and the Spirit of the living God. Thus, it is with a great mix of feelings that I write to say that I will be leaving you. I have accepted a call to be the Rector of Saint Columba’s Church in Washington, D.C.
While this is an exciting opportunity for me, I am very sad to leave you; you are my friends and my family; you have cared for me, guided me, prayed for me – and I for you. I love my ministry among you; I love the congregation and people of Saint Peter’s; I love you.
Why am I leaving? There are several ways to answer that. I am leaving because I came here intending to stay for ten years and am now in my seventeenth year. I believe I have shared with you the gifts I have to offer and that you will benefit now from the gifts of someone else. Most important, I am leaving because, like you, I am a seeker; a person of faith on the Way seeking to live as faithfully as I am able in the way of Christ. I have sought, and I shall continue to seek, to discern who and what God calls me to be and do, how it is that I am to grow into fullness as a beloved child of God. I know deep in my heart that it was a gift of God’s grace that guided me to Saint Peter’s; I believe God’s Spirit is guiding me now to a new place.
But, one might protest, I was hoping you would baptize my child, bless my marriage, perhaps even bury me. A great many of you have given me that honor – of baptizing you or your children, blessing your marriage, praying by your side, burying those whom you love, sharing as one the body and blood of our Lord.
Or, one might protest, we are mid-stream in many exciting ministries, dreaming new dreams, planning new plans. Yes, this is true. And in all the years we’ve been together, we have always been mid-stream, more often than not launching something new and exciting. We’ve just articulated “The Way Forward,” a new vision and strategic plan. We have just called a new Music Director and Choirmaster. We have plans afoot and an architect selected for potential construction of a new parish house – neighborhood house. Great adventures are on the horizon. These plans and adventures are not my plans; they are ours together; they are yours. Knowing you as I do, I have every confidence that you will carry forward with vision, courage, compassion, and joy – embodying the love of God as Christ’s heart, mind, and hands.
These years in your company have been some of the greatest of my life; years of wonder and grace. You have fed and shaped me as a child of God, as a priest and rector. I remember vividly when you first called me to serve as the rector of Saint Peter’s. I thought to myself, “I’m not sure what all we’ll be doing together, but if I can do it with people like this, I’m in; we’re going to have a good time together!” I was not wrong. These years have been defined by laughter and love and working in faith alongside each other to realize ambitious dreams and share the love of God. From the depths of my heart, I thank you: thank you for being you, for the trust you put in me, for your seeking and your finding, for our adventures together, for your abiding faith (even when you’re not sure!). You are a blessing and light to this world. Go forth, and shine.
My last Sunday at Saint Peter’s will be July 19th. This gives us time to celebrate and to say good-bye; to cry and to rejoice. Your Wardens, Rick Fitzgerald and Bill Cass, together with the Vestry, with Claire and Kate and all on our staff, and with support from the Bishop, are well equipped for the challenges ahead.
You have been in my prayers. I will hold you in my prayers. Please pray for me.
May God bless you, now and always.
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