Beloved St Andrew siblings,
I have come to a difficult decision that is born out of deep and unending love for you and for the church. For a while now I have been offering professional skills to St Andrew on a volunteer basis as a Parish Associate. Throughout my presence at St Andrew, in every role I have had, I have engaged in processes of discernment with outstanding colleagues and companions, including Scott and Julie Kae, around what is reasonable and sustainable, and I have felt called to be present in the ways I have been. It is now the case however, as I try to keep my heart and mind open for what the Spirit wants of me, that I realize I am being called to step out of this Parish Associate role at the end of this fiscal year: June 30th.
We understand as a community that healthy boundaries are essential to our own well-being and to the work to which we are called. These boundaries insist that when one who is in pastoral leadership steps out of that role, they cannot remain at the church they have served. This means I will not be present at St Andrew after June 30th, expect maybe to preach if you need pulpit supply. This is a heartbreaking decision because I love you. It is a decision that emerges from a long and difficult process of discernment and, even as it breaks my heart, I am trusting it is the right thing to do at this time. Scott and Julie Kae are my dearest professional colleagues and you are my dearest teachers and so I am also trusting that the care and call which binds us to each other will continue even as our roles and the ways we connect will change. We still have work to do together as we serve God, God’s church, and God’s beloved world.
So now my question. This crisis we are in has been exposing structures of inequality and hardship. My work has been, and will continue to be, centered on working with the church as we figure out how to be a voice and an agent of compassion, justice and peace. You are a church with deep experience, questions and insight about how we might grow together as a community that attends to the outsider and those who suffer. I would, therefore, love to spend some time in these next few months listening for what you see and what you are thinking about around the current crisis and what it has revealed. With CJP, I would love to host a conversation around this. You can expect me to be in touch soon with some opportunities to talk this through. My time with you and in this work of community building has taught me that the Spirit dwells in our thoughts and questions and in the pull we feel towards the needs of the other. I would love to hear what this Spirit has to say to you at this time. I think it might be helpful for our future work – together and apart.
Beloved St Andrew, you have been God-given teachers and partners to me these past 18 years, and I am grateful beyond anything I can express. My prayers are centered on faith in our loving God’s promise to hold you and me and everything we are being called into. You have my heart.
Rev. Maggie Breen