black and white RickAugust 12, 2014 Dear Friends in Christ: Over the past months the vestry and I have been preparing ourselves to lead All Saints’ through the discernment process that begins this coming Sunday. Our goal is to engage the congregation in listening to God by listening to each other. Simultaneously, I have been listening to God through conversations with the vestry, Dennis Romley, Brian Nordwick, Bishop Mary, Andrea, and—indirectly—through many of you. I have come to the happy decision that God is calling me to retire from All Saints’ on December 31, 2015, after I turn sixty-five. This calling surprises me as much as it might surprise you. For many years I expected to serve here well beyond age sixty-five, although this vision began shifting toward an earlier retirement over the past couple of years. Now I eagerly anticipate a new phase of my life in Christ. At the same time, I embrace with enthusiasm the last phase of my tenure at All Saints’. We have gathered a new team of staff members and God has forged a vestry eager to serve as spiritual leaders. Now it is time for us all to listen, dream, discuss, pray, and then to follow Christ. In other words, my decision makes the August 17 meeting more important. Having made this decision last Thursday (August 7), I conferred with Dennis and Brian on Friday, informed the wardens on Saturday, and announced this news to the vestry on Sunday. Together we decided that I should write you in advance of the Sunday conversation, so that we can focus on the work of discernment. For the purpose of the discernment has always been about who we are as a community of faith, how God would have us serve, and what role each of us plays. I am eager to walk beside you through this season of discernment. There will be a second meeting on September 14 for those who cannot attend this Sunday, but also for those who would like to engage in this work of the Spirit on both occasions. Meeting face-to-face is far superior, but we recognize that some members are homebound or away. So the vestry will also mail the discernment questions to those who cannot attend. They will report back, and initiate other steps. I am also eager and honored to continue to lovingly serve as pastor, preacher, teacher, mentor, celebrant, leader, cheerleader, and friend throughout our time together. There is important spiritual work to accomplish before the transition in rectors begins, and God is blessing us with a unique season to undertake this work. In Christ’s Love, Rick+ The Rev. Rick Matters