After much prayerful deliberation, I have concluded that God is calling me to retire on July 1 of this year. I am excited about this calling, which will include setting aside the intense schedule of serving as your rector. The balanced life for which I strive will involve rest and play, as well a pattern of study, prayer, and teaching. My ministry in retirement is just beginning to come into focus.
Andrea and I are purchasing a house in Spokane, which represents a deep homecoming for us. We were both born in Spokane, and were married there while attending college. My great-grandparents and the four sets of our grandparents lived there. As many of you know, Andrea traveled to Washington State several times last year to care for our aging parents. In fact, she had to forego our recent vacation, in order to fly to Spokane to care for my mother. It is time for us to live closer to family.
Part of my decision concerns what is best for All Saints’. In certain ways, the parish has been on hold since last August, when I announced that my retirement would take place at the end of 2015. Shortening the wait will permit your vestry to begin the transition process sooner. At the same time, the next six months provides sufficient time for a smooth transition.
Since I am retiring, rather than moving to a different congregation, I will need to close down thirty years of parish ministry. There are files to sort through, information to centralize in the office, systems to clarify, and pastoral material to purge. In addition to this office work, my main duties during the coming months will be to continue providing pastoral care and liturgical ministrations. I will also continue to support the vestry and other leaders, including our wonderful staff. I will complete my service at the Day School, Santa Lucia, and our Diocese. And, of course, I will enjoy our time together.
I began serving as your rector on Pentecost Day, 2007. This May will mark the eighth year of my tenure. We have much to be thankful for, and we will honor God by enjoying a good goodbye.
Feel free to contact me over the next several months for a private conversation. The transition you will undertake in saying goodbye to Andrea and me, in performing a search, and in welcoming a new rector, provides a grace-filled opportunity to confirm your identity as All Saints’ Episcopal Church. Fear not. This is a sacred time, which you can expect to be filled with love and hope.
With gratitude and prayers, Rick+
The Rev. Rick Matters, S.T.M.