Dear People of St. David’s,
I pray that you and yours are well and that you are coming along with your Christmas plans, especially making some room for the Christ child to come into your hearts. I know this is one of the busiest times of the year, but making room for God’s love and presence is the true gift of the season.
I’m writing this week to tell you how much I love you.
I’m writing to tell you that serving as your Rector has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. I love you individually and am thankful for all the life and grace we’ve shared together through the years. I love you as a community on this great mission we share in coming to know God in Jesus Christ and making Christ known to others. I love that we have weathered storms, challenges, and heartbreak together; all the time growing in God’s grace and relying on God’s power to work in our lives. I love the laughter we have shared in times of great joy and even frivolity. I love the tender moments we have shared together at weddings, baptisms, and important moments in our lives. I love that you have allowed me to serve as your pastor in times of illness, dying, and death, and the celebration of the lives of those we have loved so well, who have entered into glory. I love that God has allowed us to worship together each Sunday through so many seasons of our lives.
I love you because you have allowed me to share so many adventures together, beginning with how you loved me into being the priest that I am still becoming. I love you because we listened for God’s leading and welcomed hundreds of people into our community. I love you because you were not afraid to start new ministries; to grow strong in this, our spiritual home so we could become strong Christians making a difference in the world. I love you because we have fed, clothed, housed, educated, and cared for thousands of people; most of whom we won’t meet this side of heaven. I love you because you have offered your gifts to God in this place in so many powerful ways. And I love you because God has allowed us to become friends.
I will have more to say in this coming year, but as we look forward in hope and treasure the time and ministry we have together between now and my retirement (after NEXT Christmas), I want you to know just how loved you are. I want you to know how thankful I am to God that God brought us together and has blessed us so richly and purposefully. I want you to know that I feel led by God to retire, not knowing fully what God has next, but trusting with you that God is working all things for good. I want you to know that God is preparing the next rector to love you and I invite you to pray for them and for this process of calling. As we all get ready to celebrate the coming of Christ and the love of God in our lives, remember with me all the love we have shared and that there is more to come.
Grace, Peace, and Love,
The Rev. W. Frank Allen