Last week, my family announced publicly our plans for some big transitions. Ben has accepted a new position at a seminary in Austin, Texas and we’ll be moving away from our home for the past 13+ years this coming summer of 2023.
I know that, in due time, I’ll have plenty to say about this move: what inspired it, why it’s necessary and a good and right thing, what I’m looking forward to about Austin (lots!).
But, there’s one thing that breaks my heart about this transition: Thankful.
Leaving this parish that has been – and will always continue to be – so much a part of my life and my identity seems an unimaginable, impossible task. So, while I expect there will be many more posts in the coming months about the move to Austin, I’m going to begin with the goodbye I sent to my most beloved Thankful Ones:
My most beloved Thankful Ones,
With deep regret and sadness, I write to tell you of my upcoming resignation as your Rector. Ben has accepted a new position at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas and our family will move to that city in the summer of 2023. My last Sunday with you will be Good Shepherd Sunday, April 30.
All together, the move to Austin is good and right for our family. But, it comes with a massive down-side: I must leave you. I do not have the words to tell you what a loss this leave-taking will be for me and my family. You, my dearest Thankful Ones, have formed me into the priest I am today; you have supported me through so much and taught me even more; you have loved my children and showed them (and me!) what it means to live a life of faith. And that’s only the very beginning of the profound impact you have had on me as a priest and a human being. Jesus says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains; how I wish I could magically move you amazing people of God to Austin right alongside of us.
I cannot stomach the thought of leaving you and yet I know it must be done. So I am committed to making sure I leave you well.
News of Ben’s position will become public this Friday, October 14 (so please keep it in confidence until then, if you’re receiving this letter early). Bishop Brian is already aware of the transition and, as soon as possible, diocesan leadership will meet with myself and lay leaders at Thankful to begin the process of finding a new rector in due course.
In the meantime, the good news is that we have a long time to make plans and say goodbye, heartbreaking as that will be. We will celebrate Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week and Easter together. We still have an abundance of good work to do as Rector and People, which I am very much looking forward to and even more invested in than ever before. And I hope, in the months we have left with each other, that I will be able to begin to express my gratitude to and for you, though eternity would not be enough time for its full expression.
With immense thankfulness and love,
The Rev. Leyla King, Rector